While everyone was busy celebrating the New Year, another important deadline passed in the air conditioning and refrigeration world.
On 1st January 2015, it became illegal to use R22 refrigerant to repair or maintain air conditioning equipment.
That might sound insignificant but it puts a lot of ageing systems onto their last lifeline. From now on, if they run into any problems, it’s unlikely they can be repaired.
Why is R22 Equipment Still in Use?
Installers and manufacturers have been working hard to inform end-users about the R22 Phase Out but there are still thousands of affected systems in operation across the country.
The legislation gave businesses four years to upgrade their equipment, which proved to be plenty of time in most cases. However, there are good reasons why many have still not taken action.
These include difficulties in allocating budgets towards new air conditioning systems, as well as installers or service engineers failing to proactively communicate the legislation to affected customers.
What Does the Deadline Mean?
Even though the deadline has now passed, there is no need to panic. At least not until your system breaks down.
It is perfectly legal to operate R22 equipment indefinitely, as long as it remains leak-free and reliable.
However, if any R22 refrigerant leaks out or needs to be removed for servicing, it will be illegal to recharge it afterwards.
At some point in the near future, you need to replace it.
What Action Should You Take?
Even without the deadline, R22 equipment is now at least 12 years old and reaching the end of its expected lifetime.
New systems are up to 50% more efficient and installations come with a competitive payback period, in some cases as short as 2-3 years.
Partial replacement solutions are available, which enable you to retain your existing pipework and infrastructure, while saving time and money on the installation.
Using a “drop-in” refrigerant is also an option, although not a good one. It is unreliable, unsupported by manufacturers and requires extensive system modification and re-commissioning.
Despite the capital outlay, getting a new system is the best and most cost-effective solution. Start planning and get a cost together now.
Don’t just wait for your system to break down – then you will be panicking!
For more information about the R22 Phase Out or to book a free site survey, call us on 0141 773 3355.