Since new legislation was passed calling for an R22 phase out, the question of safety has been raised and has left many businesses wondering about the dangers of refrigerants and alternatives to what seemed to be an economical and efficient way of commercial building climate control.
Thankfully, we are able to answer these questions for you and offer you information and advice on the risks associated with refrigerants and what to do to replace them, allowing you an insight in to the new legislation and the phase out of R22.
Why are Refrigerants such as R22 dangerous?
The R22 refrigerant is one of the most common refrigerants used in older commercial air conditioning systems. R22 comes under the title of CFCs, or chlorofluorocarbons. These are often contained within commercial and personal air conditioning units and act as a coolant within the system. They do not get consumed during the cooling process, therefore they should never need to be changed or topped up. In most circumstanced R22 doesn’t cause any problems and will stay in the air conditioning unit for as long as it is running.
The problem begin to arise if there is a leak in the system. When CFCs escape in to the environment – such as through a damage to the air conditioning unit or a small leak – they can cause enormous damage to the environment as well as to your health.
R22 is a gas in the atmosphere. If the R22 leaks out of the unit it may be inhaled by anybody within proximity to the unit. Symptoms of inhalation can include nausea, headache and inhaling the gas may also cause asphyxiation in extreme situations which is why t is so important to keep your air conditioning unit properly maintained.
What to Do If You Suspect a Leak
If you’re worried that there may be a leak in your air conditioning system it is important that you contact a reputable maintenance company or the manufacturer. Do not touch the system yourself, not only for your own safety, but also for the well-being of the environment.
Due to the phase out of R22 units, your maintenance technician may not be able to repair your system, which will leave you needing an alternative option to cooling your building. So what are the alternatives?
Alternatives to R22 Refrigerant
If you have an air conditioning unit that uses R22 refrigerant, whether it is in working order or not, you will need to change it. Contact an experienced maintenance company and they will be able to offer you a number of alternatives to R22.
You may need to have your whole system replaced, but you will still have the benefit of an efficient and economical air conditioning unit, even if it doesn’t use R22. Make sure you listen to a few options before you choose which one to go with and you will soon start to experience the benefits of a new, 100% non-ozone depleting refrigerant.