Time to plan your goodbye to R22
18 February 2014
2014 is a critical year for any business still operating air conditioning or refrigeration equipment designed to use the refrigerant gas HCFC R22, as from 1st January 2015 this refrigerant will be banned throughout Europe and can no longer be legally used for service and maintenance purposes.Mike Nankivell, marketing director of Space Air, comments
For more than six decades HCFC R22 was the world’s most widely used refrigerant in air conditioning, heat pump and refrigeration equipment, however, due to its chlorine content, it was classified as an ozone depleting substance so became the subject of a global phase-out programme. This was accelerated in Europe under the European Community (EC) Regulation No. 2037/2000.
The regulation was re-cast in 2009 under EC 1005-2009, introducing new controls including leak check and logging requirements aligned with the F-Gas Regulation, but the ultimate phase-out date – 1st January 2015 – remained unchanged.
Basically, under these EC Regulations, for service and maintenance purposes, only the use of recycled or reclaimed HCFC R22 has been permitted since December 2009.
Already in very short supply, it will not have gone unnoticed that reclaimed HCFC R22 has become prohibitively expensive in the last few years. This will have pushed up the general cost of maintenance and spare parts are increasingly difficult to obtain.
Yet there remains a very substantial amount of equipment still operating with R22 and many operators seemingly unaware of the impending ban – less than a year away.
The manufacture of all new air conditioning, heat pump and refrigeration equipment designed to use HCFC R22 (for the European market) had been prohibited by 2004, but most production ceased well ahead of the phased deadlines. As a result such equipment is technically classified as obsolete; complete replacement is now the only cost effective long-term option.
As Daikin Distributor for more than 33 years, Space Airconditioning supports the entire Daikin product range including chillers, VRV, split and multi-split systems, AHUs and heat recovery ventilation. In addition we stock more than 5000 genuine Daikin parts.
For more than a decade we have invested a great deal of time and effort into raising awareness of current and imminent legal obligations affecting air conditioning, heat pump and refrigeration equipment installations. We offer free assistance with replacement strategies for existing systems, advice on all environmentally acceptable, energy efficient alternatives available from Daikin’s range, as well as finance options.
Among the main benefits offered by today’s alternatives to R22 based equipment include:
• Greater energy efficiency and thereby reduced operating costs.
• Heat Pumps can replace cooling only plant, obsoleting secondary heating systems.
• R22 replacement affords the opportunity to re-evaluate today’s capacity needs.
• One of the most important cost benefits in replacing R22 based equipment and systems will be measured in life cycle terms. The maintenance costs relating to R22 systems will already be prohibitive; availability of critical and non-critical components is extending down times and risking complete failure.
Reliable HCFC R22 based airconditioning and refrigeration equipment can legally be operated beyond the deadline of 1st January 2015, however, as soon as any service or repair is required that involves removing the refrigerant, it will be illegal to put R22, reclaimed or otherwise, back into the system.
2014 business plans should include an R22 replacement strategy, if not already in place, as any air conditioning, refrigeration or heat pump equipment designed to operate with R22 is, fast approaching the end of its useful and serviceable life – by law.