From 1 Jan 2010 it became illegal to use virgin hydro chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) such as R-22 when servicing and maintaining air conditioning equipment.
This is an issue for many as R-22 was the most commonly used refrigerant until about 2002. Until the 31 December 2014 temporary use of recycled/recovered R-22 is possible but availability could be limited and costs high.
From 1 January 2015 sales or use of recycled/recovered R-22 will be prohibited.
What are your options?
Many R-22 units are now reasonably old and replacement through phase out is often the best way forward. The good news is that new systems using the latest inverter technologies are likely to have a significantly greater heating/cooling capability and use far less electricity (on average approx. 50%). The payback period and the opportunity to make significant CO2reductions can add up to a big incentive to invest.
Refit or retrofit plant to use alternative refrigerant
Depending on the type, age and condition of equipment in some situations ‘replacement technology’ means it is possible to adapt systems to use legally permitted R407A drop in replacement gas.
System efficiency and reliability needs to be considered and only qualified engineers can undertake this work.
Continue using recycled refrigerant
Not the long term solution, but until 31 December 2014 it is possible to use a recycled refrigerant - however it’s availability and cost could well be an issue as demand and restrictions become higher.