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Is It Better to Replace or Modify Your R22 Air Conditioning?

Since the beginning of 2015, it has been illegal to replace the R22 refrigerant used in older air conditioning systems. This is because R22 contains hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) which contribute to ozone depletion in the atmosphere causing serious environmental issues.

Although it remains legal to run an existing system that uses R22, the refrigerant becomes depleted over time making the system less efficient until eventually it will stop working entirely. It is therefore necessary to either find a way to make your air conditioning run on a different refrigerant by modifying your system, or replace the system entirely. Both of these can be achieved relatively easily, but there are advantages and disadvantages to either approach.

ac unit


Generally speaking, it will be cheaper to convert your existing system to run on a new refrigerant such as R32 as this will only require you to change certain components, rather than the whole system. However, a modified system is unlikely to last as long as a new system so this could prove to be a false economy in the long term.


A modified system will usually be less efficient than the original as the system. An R22 air conditioning system will have been designed and calibrated around the properties of R22 and any replacement refrigerant will have slightly different properties for which the system will not be optimised. This will require you to use more energy to get the same performance out of a modified system than you would with a brand new air conditioning system optimised for a modern refrigerant.

a man installing an office ventilation system


A modified system is likely to be less reliable due to the need to make new components work with a system they were not designed for. Over time, this will tend to cause issues and may lead to breakdowns and even complete system failure. Not only can this severely disrupt your business operations, it can also end up being very expensive to fix.

So which should you choose?

Although modifying your system can provide a stop-gap to keep your air conditioning running in the short term, for a permanent solution replacing your R22 system is the best choice. With the benefits of reduced running costs and improved reliability, a new system is likely to quickly pay for itself, making this the more cost effective long term solution.

Total Environmental Kooling offers R22 replacement solutions for a whole range of air conditioning systems. We operate throughout the UK and work with business of all sizes and industries. To find out more or to book a consultation call TEK today on 0117 952 3355.