From 1 January 2015 new European legislation will come into effect that will ban the use of HCFC’s (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons), which includes R22 refrigerant. This deadline if fast approaching and it is up to the businesses and individuals who own such air conditioning systems to get them upgraded or replaced before next year.
If you are responsible for cooling and heating your commercial property then you will be under increasing pressure to negotiate an ever increasing amount of government legislation surrounding your choices. If you do have an air conditioning system that was installed before 2003 then you will likely need to consider replacing it very soon.
So before you start to worry about what you need to do, here is a simple and straight forward guide to the R22 ban and how it may affect you.
What is R22 Refrigerant?
R22 is commonly known as a HCFC and is frequently used in older models of air-conditioning and other cooling equipment. It has been found to have a negative impact on the environment – specifically the ozone layer – and is due to be phased out for this reason.
You may be more aware of the term CFC’s – this is well known as an ozone depleting chemical and although R22 has a much lower ozone depleting potential, it has now been decided that the risk of a detrimental effect to the environment is still greater than is considered acceptable.
In light of this it has been decided by the Montreal Protocol - which has been modified by the EU – to enforce the termination of the supply of R22 refrigerant by the beginning of 2015.
This is only one of many chemicals that the Committee of the European Parliament is considered to be thinking about phasing out in the future. They have also proposed and end to the supply of all fluorinated gases in air-conditioning unit by 2020.
Why Should I Replace My Unit?
If you are wondering why this legislation has been passed and why it is important for you to get on board with the change then here is some important information about the R22 phase out:
- The R22 refrigerant that is in many air conditioning systems can be harmful to the ozone layer if it escapes from the units.
- Old and poorly maintained air-conditioning units can use up to 50% more energy than newer models. This excessive and unnecessary energy use has a negative impact on the environment by creating more carbon emissions and will cost the user more money in the long term.
- If you use an older model of air conditioner it is more likely to have serious malfunctions, affecting the level of heating and cooling in your building and leading to the likelihood of unit failure.
- After 2014 you will no longer be able to get the parts or labour to maintain an R22 unit.
Will I Be Affected By the Change?
There are a variety of circumstances in which you may be effected by the R22 ban. Equipment and systems that will typically be affected include:
- Large chillers and industrial use refrigeration
- Close control air conditioning units
- Air handling units
- Air-conditioning units and mini-split units
If you have any of these units it is important that you find out whether or not they use R22 refrigerant and think about replacing them in the very near future.
Will This Change Be Energy Efficient?
The R22 phase out will have an impact on the energy efficiency of your unit and your cooling system, but this can certainly be minimised effectively.
One option that is available to those wanting to comply with the new legislation while keeping their cooling systems is to replace the HCFC component with a legally compliant alternative. This may not be the most energy efficient option, however we would be happy to offer you advice on what may be the best solution for your specific circumstances.
There are many ways to minimise the loss of energy efficiency and one of the main solutions is to replace your air-conditioning system with a new, highly energy efficient one using a reputable air conditioning service which will save you money in the long term. Again, we would be happy to offer advice on this.
What Will Happen If I Do Not Comply With the Requirements?
There is a high likelyhood that if you do not take in to account the changes made after the R22 phase out, you will be liable to face financial penalties for your non-compliance, as well as:
- Being unabe to top up the R22 in your system, leaving it redundant.
- A compromised air conditioning unit.
- Increased costs for service, maintenance and replacement parts.
So make the change today and with the help of Breeze Installations you can have an energy efficient and fully legal air conditioning unit before the new legislation comes into effect in 2015.