It’s now illegal to use R22 refrigerant to maintain or repair your air conditioning. If your system was installed before 2004, it’s likely to operate using R22 refrigerant and should be replaced with immediate effect.

While it remains legal to operate your air conditioning, it’s now illegal to replenish the refrigerant in your system when carrying out repairs and maintenance. That means if you run into any problems, no engineer will be able to fix them.

If you use your air conditioning for comfort cooling and heating, this will be a major inconvenience and could result in downtime for your organisation. However, if you depend on air conditioning for your day to day operations, it could have serious consequences and requires urgent action.

If you believe your air conditioning system uses R22 refrigerant or may have been installed before 2004, call us on 0141 773 3355.

R22 Replacement Benefits

The R22 Phase Out is an opportunity to replace an ageing and inefficient air conditioning system. Air conditioning systems installed before 2004 are approaching the end of their usable lifetime, typically around 15 years with regular maintenance.

Modern air conditioning systems come with huge advantages and are 50% more efficient than those that operate using R22. Replacement solutions come with competitive payback periods, often just 2-3 years, and result in immediate improvements in performance.

The R22 Phase Out is also an opportunity to improve your organisation’s environmental credentials. Modern refrigerants, such as R32 and R410a, have a much lower impact on global warming than R22, while modern systems consume less energy and can considerably reduce your carbon footprint.

These benefits and cost savings will continue throughout your new system’s lifetime, especially with regular maintenance. In the UK, R22 replacement may also be eligible for tax relief under the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) Scheme. To find out which systems are eligible, visit the website.

R22 Replacement Options

If you have an air conditioning system that operates using R22 refrigerant, B-DACS can help you find the right replacement solution, based on your budget and individual requirements.

There are three main replacement options available to you:

Total System Replacement

This involves replacing all parts of your air conditioning system, including outdoor and indoor units, pipework and electrical wiring. It ensures you have the most energy efficient equipment with the lowest running costs, designed from scratch to ensure it meets your organisation’s current cooling and heating requirements. It does require the highest initial capital outlay but is guaranteed to save you money and give you the best performance in the long run.

Replace Outdoor and Indoor Units

By retaining your existing infrastructure, including pipework, wiring and power supply, you could significantly reduce installation costs and time. Partial replacement solutions can produce substantial improvements in performance, efficiency and running costs, with a lower initial outlay than a total system replacement. We can work with you to find a flexible solution that is fit for purpose and guaranteed to be free from R22 refrigerant.

‘Drop-in’ Refrigerant

Drop-in refrigerants should only ever be used as a short-term measure and as part of a comprehensive R22 replacement strategy. Drop-in refrigerants mimic the function of R22 in old systems, without the legal implications or negative environmental impacts. However, they also diminish reliability and performance, leaving your air conditioning at risk of failure. Drop-in refrigerants are not a cost-effective solution and they will cause your system to become increasingly expensive to operate over time.

R22 Legislation

The EC Ozone Regulation (No. 1005/2009) was introduced to phase out HCFCs, including R22 gas, used in air conditioning and refrigeration systems. Since 1st January 2015, it has been illegal to use virgin, recycled and reclaimed R22 to maintain or repair air conditioning equipment.

R22 gas is an HCFC, or hydrochlorofluorocarbon, commonly used in air conditioning, process cooling and industrial refrigeration. It has been banned for use in new equipment in the UK since 2004. The ban is in place because HCFCs are ozone-depleting substances, meaning that when they’re released into the air, they react with and damage the ozone.

Due to their detrimental impact on the environment, R22 and other ozone-depleting substances are being phased out globally. Modern refrigerants, such as the industry standard R-410A, which do not damage the ozone layer, are now being used in their place.

There are more F-Gas regulations coming into force in the EU, which will further limit the use of HFCs in refrigeration by 2030. These include R404A, R422A, R422D and R507, which will be gradually phased out to reduce emissions. The aim is to reduce their usage to around a fifth of current levels, shifting to climate-friendly technology wherever possible.

R22 Phase Out Timeline

  • 1st January 2004: HCFCs including R22 refrigerant banned for use in new air conditioning systems throughout the EU.
  • 1st January 2010: Virgin R22 refrigerant banned for use in maintenance and repairs.
  • 1st January 2015: All R22, including recycled and reclaimed refrigerant, banned for use in maintenance and repairs.