R22 was, until 2002, a commonly used refrigerant in air conditioning equipment. However, studies show the damage it can cause to the ozone layer, adversely affecting the environment as a result, and new legislation now places restrictions on its use.
From January 2010, it became illegal to use new R22 refrigerant equipment and, from January 2015, the use of all recycled or recovered R22 equipment has been banned.
This could mean air conditioning equipment you own could be affected.
In basic terms, the use of R22 refrigerant was banned from 31 December 2014. There is a drop in replacement refrigerant, R417a, but this is up to 20% less efficient. (Also, take into account that new equipment is up to 30% more efficient anyway with inverter compressors).
Contrary to what the manufacturers are telling everyone, systems are still serviceable, but we are not allowed to ”break” the refrigerant lines. This means for any shortage of gas, pressure test and repair or compressor replacement, a drop in gas would have to be used and the R22 disposed of.
The bigger issue we have regarding the whole area of R22 is replacement parts. Because the air conditioning equipment is now so old, most manufacturers do not hold stock of parts, so if one item is replaced and another item fails, it may be that money is wasted on a short term fix. Refrigerant R417a also has a detrimental effect on internal parts/seals making the systems prone to refrigerant leaks and we cannot guarantee life expectancy - estimates are 12-18 months.
If you take into account that new equipment is up to 30% more efficient anyway with inverter compressors, serious consideration should be given to replacement of the systems with increased efficiency, lower running costs and 5 years warranty, in addition to Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA), where clients set the whole cost of the installation (including building work) against taxable profit in the tax year.
Legislative Body: Defra
Virgin R22: Already Banned
Recycled R22: Banned from 31 December 2014
Equipment Serviceable: Contra to popular belief, R22 equipment will still be serviceable. However, we are not allowed to break the refrigerant line.
Drop in gasses: R417a Up to 20% less efficient
Replacement parts: PCBs and other parts are becoming obsolete.
From 01 January 2015 there has been a charge for disposal of Reclaimed R22 - prices will only increase going forward.
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