Since 2015, it has been illegal to top up any system with R22 gas. Although you can still legally operate a system that already contains R22, the gas will become depleted over time and eventually the system will lose efficiency or stop working altogether.
If your business relies on a creating a controlled temperature environment, it is advisable to look into replacing your R22 with a suitable alternative as soon as possible. This will allow you to avoid the risk of an unexpected failure of your equipment which could harm your business.
When looking at replacing your R22 refrigerant, there are several options you can choose from which fall into two main categories.
There are some refrigerant options which will allow you to keep your current system and simply switch to using a new refrigerant gas. This has the advantage of keeping your costs down while meaning you can be confident that your system can be kept running for the time being. Two of the most commonly used drop-in replacements are R422D and R417A. These are both non-ozone depleting HFC blends which can be used in a range of equipment types.
Although drop-in refrigerants offer a relatively cost-effective way of keeping your system running, it is important to understand that your equipment will generally run less efficiently than with the R22 it was designed for. This means drop-in refrigerants are best used as a short-term solution while you plan a more permanent replacement.
The equipment running on R22 is typically in excess of 20 years old and many components are now obsolete and spares cannot be sourced. Using a drop in solution is unlikely to meet the medium-term needs of the business.
A more long-term solution is to replace part or all of your system, allowing you to use a new refrigerant efficiently. This can ultimately result in lower running costs than you are used to with your existing R22 system, helping to offset the cost of upgrading your equipment.
One of the most popular refrigerants for these kind of system replacements is R-410A which is the preferred choice of industry-leading manufacturer Daikin. As well as having zero ozone depletion potential, R-410A is ideal for use with Variable Refrigerant Volume (VRV) technology meaning your new system could be around 25% more efficient.
Some other replacements which require relatively minor system modifications include R407C and R438A, both alternative blends of HFCs. However, these may not be compatible with all systems so make sure to consult with a HVAC specialist before committing to a replacement refrigerant.
Our expert team have years of experience working with all types and brands of air conditioning equipment across a wide range of industries. This means we can always find the best R22 replacement options for your business and air conditioning system, providing tailored solutions to match your needs and budget.
UPDATE: Find out more about the new R-32 refrigerant system.