R22 Phase Out FAQs
The gradual phase out of R22 was completed on 1st January 2015. If you want some more information about the R22 ban, then please scroll through our FAQs or use the titles below as a shortcut.
Alternatively, contact us any time and ask us any questions you have directly.
R22 is one of a group of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) that are used as a refrigerant in some older air conditioning systems. If your system is around ten years old or more, then the chances are you’ll be running on this type of refrigerant.
Through a series of chemical reactions in the upper atmosphere, HCFCs like R22 are known to deplete ozone, a gas that forms part of the protective layer around the planet, notably over Antartica. This in turn has various environmental and biological effects.
The observation of these effects led to a voluntary agreement between world leaders to reduce the release of these harmful gases (called the Montreal Protocol). Over a number of years, and in stages that give industried plenty of time to adapt, they are being phased out in favour of less harmful alternatives.
The R22 phase out has happened in gradual steps to allow everyone time to replace their systems, starting with making 'virgin' R22 use illegal. Since January 2015:
• You cannot install a new system that runs on HCFC gas, nor can you maintain an old system if it involves breaking into the refrigerant circuits.
• You cannot top up your existing systems with any type of R22, although you can continue to run your old system without refreshing the refrigerant.
You can choose to continue to run your system, however, you cannot legally top up the refrigerant unless you have it converted to accept a substitute. With this in mind, you may want to consider replacement.
A system that runs on R22 may still legally operate despite the ban. However, it is not be legal to add R22 of any kind to it – reclaimed, ‘virgin’ or otherwise.
Legally, then, you do not 'need' to remove it from your AC equipment. However, the potential to be stuck without air conditioning if your system breaks, means you may want to consider changing it sooner rather than later.
If you want to leave your current system in place then you may. It is also possible to convert your existing system to accept a new refrigerant type. There are several factors to bear in mind when considering your R22 replacement options, however:
• If your system breaks, you will not be able to replace the R22.
• This could be a disaster if your industry relies on climate control systems, such as in your server room, large office or hot kitchen. In these cases, it might be better to invest in a new system.
• Converted systems are usually less efficient than a new system, and can be around half as effective. This will push up your energy consumption, increasing your bills and affecting any environmental targets you may have.
Depending on your system, it could be that conversion or total replacement could be the best options for you. There are a lot of cost, environmental and convenience factors to consider.
Talk to our experts to get an opinion that takes the circumstances of your business and building into consideration.