If you have any involvement with your facility’s HVAC, chances are you’ve been hearing about the R22 phaseout. But be warned: simply Google searching your options could lead you down a path of misinformation.
P1 Group Service Manager Brian H. is here to set the record straight.
Q: What is the R22 phaseout?
“Under the clean air act, the EPA has issued the phaseout of the production and importation of ozone-depleting substances. This includes R22. Starting January 1, 2020, R22 will no longer be produced or imported.”
Jan 1, 2010 – sale of new equipment with R22 is banned
Jan. 1, 2020 - R22 no longer produced or imported
Jan. 1, 2030 – All remaining HCFC banned from production or importation
Q: Does this mean R22 is illegal?
“No. Some sources will claim this, but it’s not accurate. It’s not illegal, you can still use it, but only recovered, recycled or reclaimed supplies will be available, making them much harder to come by and much more expensive. Each year the allotted production and importation is decreasing, causing the price to increase, at times as much as 730% compared to 2011 prices.”
Q: If someone has systems that contain R22, what are their options?
“Due to the price increase in R22, repairing or continuing to use systems with it may not make economic sense, but it also depends on the age and condition of your existing system. P1 Group has several options we recommend.”
- Retain and manage existing systems using enhanced maintenance procedures and updated leak-prevention practices, until failure occurs.
for systems that are not critical, are in good condition and have significant remaining economic life
- Retrofit existing system with an alternate, non-ozone-depleting, non-flammable refrigerant.
for systems that are in good condition, have significant remaining economic life and are cost-effective to retrofit
- Replace with new equipment, which uses non-ozone-depleting refrigerant.
for small or simple systems that are old, in poor condition with a function that has not changed
- Upgrade to new equipment, which uses non-ozone-depleting refrigerant, taking into account additional considerations.
for larger or complex systems that are old, in poor condition and whose function has changed since the original installation
At the end of the day, Brian says the bottom line is cost and customers need to ask themselves if it’s more cost prohibitive to replace or retrofit vs. spending the money on R22.