The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is in the process of phasing out ozone-depleting substances (ODS) like R-22 refrigerant in the United States by 2020. HCFC-22, also known as R-22, is one of the more popular refrigerants on the market today. Even if your organization’s air conditioning system relies on R-22, you have a variety of options moving forward. Here’s what you can and can’t do when it comes to the R-22 refrigerant phase-out.
What You Can Do
If your existing infrastructure uses and already contains any R-22 refrigerant, you can continue using it without legal penalty. However, if your organization plans to keep running equipment with R-22, the EPA recommends planning out a way to repair or replace any leaking equipment so that you can recover and reuse any refrigerant. Since R-22 won’t be readily available for purchase, you will plan on storing recovered R-22 to service any of your own equipment. However, once you run out of R-22, do not count on being able to obtain more. Once 2020 arrives, you’ll need to start looking for a more sustainable R-22 replacement solution.
What You Can’t Do
If your organization is planning to expand your AC system now or in the near future, new R-22 cannot be used to increase cooling capacity. Upgraded and expanded systems are still considered new systems, so you have to use either reclaimed R-22 or an alternative refrigerant. If you’re planning on making extensive HVAC equipment upgrades, you should plan on finding a system replacement that does not depend on an R-22 supply.
What You Should Do
If you’d like to continue using R-22 for the time being, feel free to do so. Just be aware that the importation and production of R-22 will become illegal on January 1, 2020. You should be prepared for the price of after-market, new, and reclaimed to rise sharply as individuals and businesses are purchasing R-22 to sell after the phaseout.
If your business wants to expand or upgrade your HVAC infrastructure, plan out a budget ahead of time for the long-term expenses of your HVAC system after R-22 has been phased out. You’ll likely discover that a more sustainable infrastructure update will end up saving you in the long run, so you can spend more on the upgrade itself. That’s why we recommend your organization starts pursuing environmentally-friendly initiatives that don’t rely on R-22 today. That way, you can break away from R-22 dependence and be better prepared for the challenges of tomorrow.
With a wide range of R-22 refrigerant alternatives already on the market, switching over to R-22 replacements couldn’t be easier. Many options are even more efficient than R-22, so you can save money on electricity and utility bills. On top of improving energy efficiency, these options do not deplete the earth’s ozone layer as R-22 does. As each day passes, there are fewer and fewer reasons to continue relying on R-22.
Alternative options include:
- 404A, AZ-50 (507)
- AZ-20 (410A)
How We Can Help
If your organization is planning an upgrade or new installation now or in the near future, contact the experts at Garrison Mechanical today. We’ll help you explore your options and find an ideal solution to prepare you for the future.