Phase out of R22 in refrigeration and air conditioning
After 1 January 2010 no more virgin refrigerant R22 can be
used in existing systems.
After 2015 no more recycled refrigerant R22 can be used in
If you have recently installed an R22 air conditioning system the phase out
dates should be a cause for your concern. Your system will only require additional
refrigerant should a leak or major repair is required and this can be effected
within current legislation until 2015.
Servicing existing units
Existing units using R-22 can continue to be serviced with
R-22 until in 1st of January 2010. Thereafter new refrigerant can not be bought
to fill this system only existing, stockpiled or reclaimed. In addition,
the new substitute refrigerants cannot be used without making some changes to
system components. As a result, service technicians who repair leaks to the
system will continue to charge R-22 into the system as part of that repair.
Cost of R-22
While consumers should be aware that prices of R-22 may
increase as supplies dwindle over the next 20 or 30 years, EPA believes that
consumers are not likely to be subjected to major price increases within a short
time period. Although there is no guarantee that service costs of R-22 will not
increase, the lengthy phase out period for R-22 means that market conditions
should not be greatly affected by the volatility and resulting refrigerant price
hikes that have characterized the phase out of R-12, the refrigerant used in
automotive air-conditioning systems and commercial chillers.
Alternatives to R-22 in Residential Air Conditioning
As R-22 is gradually phased out, non-ozone-depleting
alternative refrigerants are being introduced. Under the Clean Air Act, EPA
reviews alternatives to ozone-depleting substances like R-22 in order to
evaluate their effects on human health and the environment. EPA has reviewed
several of these alternatives to R-22 and has compiled a
substitutes that EPA has determined are acceptable. One of these substitutes
is R-410A, a blend of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), substances that do not
contribute to depletion of the ozone layer, but, like R-22, contribute to global
warming. R-410A is manufactured and sold under various trade names, including
GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, and Puron®. Additional refrigerants on the list of
acceptable substitutes include R-134a and R-407C. These two refrigerants are not
yet available for residential applications in the U.S., but are commonly found
in residential A/C systems and heat pumps in Europe. EPA will continue to review
new non-ozone-depleting refrigerants as they are developed.
Installing new units
The transition away from ozone-depleting R-22 to systems
that rely on replacement refrigerants like R-410A has required redesign of heat
pump and air conditioning systems. New systems incorporate compressors and other
components specifically designed for use with specific replacement refrigerants.
With these significant product and production process changes, testing and
training must also change. Consumers should be aware that dealers of systems
that use substitute refrigerants should be schooled in installation and service
techniques required for use of that substitute refrigerant.
A Common Sense Approach To Purchasing New Systems
Another important thing a homeowner can do for the
environment is to purchase a highly energy-efficient system. Energy-efficient
systems result in cost savings for the homeowner. Today's best air conditioners
use much less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners
made in the mid-1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you
may save significantly on your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a
newer, more efficient model. Products with EPA's Energy Star® label can save
homeowners 10% to 40% on their heating and cooling bills every year. These
products are made by most major manufacturers and have the same features as
standard products but also incorporate energy saving technology. Both R-22 and
R-410A systems may have the Energy Star® label. Equipment that displays the
Energy Star® label must have a minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio (COP).
The higher the cop specification, the more efficient the equipment.
You should consider energy efficiency, along with
performance, reliability and cost, in making your decision. And don't forget
that when purchasing a new system, you can also speed the transition away from
ozone-depleting R-22 by choosing a system that uses ozone-friendly refrigerants.
History and schedule of the use of HCFC’s
From 01/07/1995 - HCFC’s
will be banned except as solvents, as refrigerants, for the production of rigid
insulating foams and integral skin foams in safety applications, in laboratory
uses, including research and development, as feedstock in the manufacture of
other chemicals and as a carrier gas for sterilisation substances in closed
From 01/01/1996 - HCFC’s
will be banned in the following uses: in equipment produced after 31/12/95 as:
refrigerants in non-confined direct evaporation systems; refrigerants in
domestic refrigerators and freezers; in motor vehicle, tractor and off road
vehicle or trailer air conditioning and inroad public transport air
From 01/01/1998 - HCFC use
will be banned in equipment produced after 31/12/97 for rail public transport
From 01/01/2000 - HCFC use
will be banned in equipment produced after 31/12/99 for use as refrigerants in
public distribution and cold stores and warehouses and as refrigerants for
equipment of 150kW and over shaft input.
From 01/01/2001 - HCFC’s
are banned in all other refrigeration and air conditioning equipment produced
after 31/12/2000, with the exception of fixed a/c equipment, with a cooling
capacity of less than 100kW where use shall be prohibited from 01/01/2004 and of
reversible air conditioning / heat pump systems where the use of HCFC’s shall be
prohibited from 01/01/2004 in all equipment produced after 31/12/2003.
From 01/01/2010 - The use
of virgin HCFC’s shall be prohibited in the maintenance and servicing of
refrigeration and air conditioning equipment existing at that date.
From 01/01/2015 - The use of recycled
HCFC's will be prohibited in the maintenance and servicing of refrigeration and
air conditioning equipment existing at that date.
R134A is a single hydrofluorocarbon or HFC compound. It has no chlorine
content, no ozone depletion potential, and only a modest global warming
potential. - ODP = 0, GWP = 1300
R407C is a ternary blend of hydrofluorocarbon or HFC compounds,
comprising 23% of R32, 25% of R125 and 52% of R134a. It has no chlorine content,
no ozone depletion potential, and only a modest direct global warming potential.
- ODP = 0, GWP = 1610
R410A is a binary blend of hydrofluorocarbon or HFC compounds, comprising
50% of R32 and 50% of R125) it has no chlorine content, no ozone depletion
potential, and only a modest global warming potential. - ODP = 0, GWP 1890
R417A is the zero ODP replacement for R22 suitable for new equipment and
as a drop-in replacement for existing systems.
There are currently no restrictions on equipment or use of
the following refrigerants: R134A, R407C, R410A, and R417A.