As of the 1st January 2010 it became illegal to use virgin (new) hydrchloro fluorocarbons (HCFC’s) such as R22 when servicing and maintaining air conditioning equipment. HCFC’s have been proven to have ozone depletion potential and legislation is now in place to ensure their use is completely phased out by 2015. R22 is the refrigerant most commonly used in small to medium size air conditioning systems, manufactured prior to 2003.
Should your equipment suffer any failure requiring additional refrigerant after this date, a decision will have to be made.
Using recycled R22 will be an option until 2014 (although this date may be brought forward). The cost of recycled R22 is currently an unknown quantity, but thought likely to be high due to substantial demand and limited availability. For critical applications the uncertainty regarding future availability and the ultimate withdrawal date will probably rule out this option.
Alternate ‘drop in’ refrigerants will be available, but are mainly untested and therefore not recommended by the majority of main equipment manufacturers. According to OEM’S, these only offer a partial solution and can severely compromise system and component performance. Use of these will be at the system owner’s discretion. The potential (as yet unknown) compatibility issues throw a shadow of doubt over the feasibility of this option.
Replace existing R22 based air conditioning equipment with new energy efficient equipment utilising the current industry standard R410A refrigerant which has zero ozone depleting potential. This will not only give the benefit of a manufacturers' warranty of up to 5 years on the new equipment, but can also give up to 30% increase (and in some cases over) in efficiency compared to older style R22 equipment. Increased efficiency equates to less energy consumption, lower subsequent energy costs and lower CO2 emissions.
If the new regulations are of concern to your business, Airtemp AC Ltd will be pleased to discuss the available options with you and if required, audit your equipment and help you develop a corporate strategy to ensure compliance with the legislation. This information is intended to make our customers aware of the main points of the regulations; it should not be relied upon as a definitive statement of the law and is not a substitute for legal advice. Interpretation of the law is a matter for the courts and we can accept no liability for any loss resulting from reliance on this information.