The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is currently overseeing the phaseout of ozone-depleting substances (ODS) in the United States. As a part of the process, the production and importation of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are expected to be phased out by 2020. One of the most common types of refrigerant used today, HCFC-22 or R-22, falls under the category of HCFC. If your business’s air conditioning system relies on R-22, here’s what you need to know.
You Can Keep Using R-22 Equipment
If your existing equipment contains R-22, you are allowed to continue using it. If your company plans to continue using equipment that requires R-22, the EPA recommends establishing a plan to repair or replace leaking equipment so you can recover and reuse the refrigerant. You will be able to store recovered R-22 to service any of your own equipment. However, once you run out of R-22, do not count on being able to obtain more. At that point, you’ll need to start looking for an R-22 replacement solution.
You Cannot Use R-22 for System Expansions
If your business is planning to expand your AC system, new R-22 cannot be used to increase cooling capacity. Expanded systems are considered new systems, so you will have to either use reclaimed R-22 or an alternative refrigerant. If you’re planning on making serious HVAC infrastructure upgrades, you may be better off implementing a system replacement that does not rely on a long-term R-22 supply.
Transition Now or Pay Later
If you want to continue using your existing systems for the time being, go ahead. However, because the importation and production of R-22 will become illegal around January 1, 2020, expect the cost of reclaimed and new R-22 to rise sharply. If your business is planning an expansion or upgrade, make sure you budget for the long-term expenses of your HVAC system after R-22 has been phased out. If you start implementing more environmentally-friendly measures now, you can break free of R-22 dependence and be better prepared for the future.
There are a Variety of Replacement Options
With the wide availability of R-22 refrigerant alternatives, we recommend switching over to R-22 replacements sooner rather than later. Many options are even more efficient than R-22, so you can save money on electricity and utility bills. On top of improving energy efficiency, these options do not deplete the earth’s ozone layer as R-22 does.
Alternative options include:
- AZ-20 (410A)
- 404A, AZ-50 (507)
If your business is interested in expanding your existing HVAC infrastructure or planning a complete replacement, contact the team at Air Comfort, and we’ll help you better understand your options.