Since 1st January 2015, all types of R22 refrigerant used in air conditioning systems has been banned from use. This means it is now illegal to use R22 in any form – whether virgin, recycled or reclaimed.
Why was it banned?
This is due to the fact that R22 is an HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) gas, which is an ozone-depleting substance. Essentially when it is released into the world, it reacts and causes damage to the ozone.
What does this mean?
If your system still currently uses R22 refrigerant, it is still legal to operate it, however it is illegal to regas the system with R22 if a refrigerant leak occurs or any components need replacing that involves the removal of refrigerant. This means that if there are any issues with the refrigeration circuit of your air conditioning system, it is not possible to fix them.
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What do you need to do?
If your air conditioning system still operates using R22 gas, there are a range of options available to you in order to replace it:
Total system replacement
Total system replacement means exactly what it says, it is the removal of every aspect of your old air conditioning system and replacing it with a brand new one. This includes all pipes, the indoor and outdoor units, and electrical wiring.
The benefits of this is that you get a far more modern and efficient system. Newer systems work up to 50% more efficiently, meaning lower running costs over the course of its life. Whilst the initial outlay for the system may seem expensive, in the long run you will be saving money by using a system that has a far better performance.
As well as this, you can significantly reduce your environmental impact on the world by moving over to a more modern system. Newer systems that use refrigerants such as R410a have a lower impact on the ozone layer and global warming, therefore reducing your businesses carbon footprint.
An alternative to total system replacement is to just replace certain parts of the system, in order to bring it inline with modern standards to make it more efficient. This can include replacing the indoor and outdoor units, but keeping the pipes and electrical wiring.
This option offers a cheaper initial cost, as you will not be replacing as much equipment and the process isn’t as labour intensive. It also offers savings through having a more efficient system with better performance.
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The third option is a short term only solution. As a replacement for the R22 you could use a drop-in refrigerant, which would mirror the effect of R22 gas but is far less harmful to the environment.
This solution is only something we recommend for the short term whilst you are trying to sort out a long term solution. This is because it is not cost effective and will end up costing your business far more in the long run. Furthermore, it could cause performance issues with your system over time, causing risk of failure.
Get in touch
If you aren’t sure about whether your system uses R22 refrigerant or if you would like advice on the best replacement option for your business, please get in touch by giving us a call on 01403 791307.