R22 Refrigerant Phase Out: What is it and why is it so important?

What is R22 refrigerant?

R22 refrigerant is one of the most commonly used refrigerants in the air conditioning systems. R22 is the short name for the halocarbon compound CHClF2 (monochlorodifluoromethane), which is used as the refrigerant. Formerly an essential part of cooling solutions, R22 refrigerant has been banned and it is now illegal to use it in refrigeration units or air conditioning systems at domestic or commercial premises.

If your cooling system was installed before 2004, it is likely to contain the prohibited chemicals and should be addressed as a matter of priority.

Why R22 refrigerant has been banned?

The Chlorine element of R22 is a proven ozone depleting gas and contributes to global warming when released in to the atmosphere.

On 1st January 2015, the EU’s ‘Ozone Regulation’ made it illegal to use virgin, recycled or reclaimed R22 to maintain or repair air conditioning equipment.

This was the next stage in the phase out after virgin R22 was banned from being used during maintenance and repairs in 2010, and R22 was banned from use in new equipment back in 2004.

That followed a EU stricture, dated 2010, known as the ‘OSS’ regulation.

Simply put, it means if your air con system or refrigeration unit needs repairs going forward, it can’t be topped up with R22 and will be inoperable.

In order to remain compliant, it requires you to possibly replace or upgrade old units with compliant parts and modern refrigerant.

Doing anything else will leave you open to a significant penalty or fine.

What recommendations for phasing out R22 refrigerant?

When it comes to addressing R22, it is first important to determine what coolant your system uses and how best to have it replaced.

Modern air conditioning systems now use alternative refrigerants like R32 or R410a which have a much lower impact on global warming than R22.

Managing an R22 phase out correctly involves checking the following:

  • The make and model of your system
  • The age of your model
  • The integrity of your existing equipment
  • If your equipment can be converted or requires a full replacement

For many, the best way to validate this is to contact your provider or a trusted professional.

They will quickly be able to determine if you need a replacement as well as providing a costing for work required to ensure full compliance.

What are the benefits of R22 replacement?

While having to replace an air con system may be frustrating, new and modern air conditioning systems come with huge advantages – allowing your system to operate at peak efficiency because many new models are up to 50% more efficient than those using R22.

Deciding on an R22 replacement allows you to enjoy a significant saving over time while also being kind to the environment by reducing your air con unit’s carbon footprint.

There are plenty of advantages to switching to a modern system:

Protect the ozone – protecting our ozone is important to human health as well as the environment.

Reduce carbon emissions – lower your business’ carbon footprint with a more efficient system.

Save on energy bills – less energy used, means lower energy bills and more money in your pocket. It is estimated that when you install a new R410a system you can save as much as 30% on your energy bills!

Longevity – a more efficient system means a reduced risk of damage from compressor burnout.

In addition, you may be eligible for tax relief under the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme, an initiative that your provider can advise you on to guarantee the largest savings possible.

What next?

For a free, no obligation inspection of your air con system, contact us here. If you want to learn more, or receive support about replacing your R22 refrigerant, our team at Sovereign Planned Services Ltd is here to help.

With many years’ experience in HVAC operating across a range of sectors, we can provide any best practice guidance or assistance for ensuring your business is fully compliant with the regulations.

If you have specific questions or queries about how we can help you and your business, please do not hesitate to call us at 0800 243 638 and let us know exactly what you need.


Author: Gareth Whalley
Sharing my vast knowledge in the Air Conditioning and Mechanical services field especially in HVAC installation, service and maintenance across a broad range of sectors, including Healthcare, Education, Transport, Banking, Retail and Commercial developments.