R22 Replacement – Time is Running Out

On February 20th, 2014, posted in: Latest News by

R22 is subject to a phase out under the laws concerning the use of HCFCs. As such, Defra have already banned the use of new R22 in refrigeration and air conditioning systems since 2010. At present only reclaimed or recovered gas may be used to service systems but this is set to change. From January 1st 2015 the use of HCFCs to service refrigeration and air conditioning equipment will be banned.

Effects of the ban

During 2014 it will still be possible to refill R22 systems with reclaimed or reused gas, although this will become increasingly expensive as the remaining stocks dwindle. After December 2014, an alternative solution must be used.

Available Solutions

A number of options are available to system operators needing to phase out R22. The simplest approach is to use a ‘Drop In’ Refrigerant which gives a close approximation of R22 for a specific running condition. This is the cheapest option in the short term as it requires no alterations to plant, however, the system running conditions will be slightly different, and a number of systems have shown reduced service life due to this. A good alternative to a Drop in refrigerant is to retrofit the system to take a modern refrigerant. This is more involved and will require alterations to the system, such as expansion valves and seals, but ensures optimum system operation in the future; retrofit refrigerants can be tailored to current and future needs, often either lower energy consumption or actually increasing a system’s cooling capacity.

Replacement Technology

A number of air conditioning manufacturers offer replacement technology for split type air conditioning systems where replacement of pipework and fan coil units would become costly. These replacement systems allow the replacement of eligible split and VRV style condensing units with modern equipment to update the whole system without costly and intrusive works replacing concealed pipework and fan coils. This provides an effective, neat way of phasing out R22 and reducing running costs by improving energy efficiency.

New Equipment

Many R22 systems are already approaching the end of their expected service lives. It can often be more cost effective to replace some equipment outright, both in terms of capital outlay and running costs. Additionally, many new systems benefit from the Government’s Energy Technology Enhanced Capital Allowance Scheme.

What are the Options?

  • Do nothing: leave the system and look to R22 replacement as and when a failure occurs. Note: it is much harder to correctly select a replacement refrigerant without correct running values to match to.
  • Drop in Refrigerant: A good short term solution where equipment is required to see out a set period and exact capacity is not essential. Note: some systems have shown decreased reliability with drop in refrigerants.
  • Retrofitting: Modernise older equipment with a tailored replacement refrigerant. Note: Systems can in many cases be adjusted for improved capacity or energy efficiency.
  • Replacement Technology: Replace split and VRV systems while minimising disruption to conditioned spaces, ideal for critical areas or busy offices. Note: replacement technology is only available for certain equipment.
  • New Systems: Often the most cost effective method. Provides the longest service life and generally reduced running costs. Tailored to current and future needs. Note: Equipment can fall under ECA scheme, reducing capital costs.

ICE offers no obligation consultations with each system looked at individually. We provide advice on the best solution for each case and give the client the information they need to make an informed decision on the best course of action. Our priority is to provide the best solutions for our clients’ needs, as opposed to pushing any one solution. Where required, we can conduct a thorough inspection of a system to build a tailored package in order to meet changing legislation and operational requirements.

For more information or advice about R22 replacement give us a call on 01928 588 800 or email us at sales@www.ice-ltd.co.uk

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