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R22 - Refrigerant

If you have business offices, commercial property or even a house with air conditioning that’s 8 years old or older it could be using a refrigerant called R22.
R22 was a popular refrigerant until it was discovered that it is extremely harmful to our planet, it has global warming and ozone depleting properties and is a contributing factor to the “green house effect”.

As of the 1st January 2010 it will be illegal to use “virgin R22”.


Reclaimed/recycled R22 will be available for a while but as available quantities become rarer the price will increase dramatically, and a total ban comes in to force in 2015 (that’s if stocks last that long).

How does this affect me? Do I need to care?
Well the first part how does it affect me, is easy to answer after the 1st January 2010 if your air conditioning needs a repair or has a leak then you will have a problem, it may be that an engineer will be able to get hold of some recycled R22 (in the short term anyway) if he can't then it may be beyond economical repair and a new unit will be required.

What are my options?
There are two options:

Option one – You can use what's known as a drop-in, most manufacturers have seen the oncoming demise of R22 for some time now and have developed refrigerants that will operate in R22 systems without damage to the equipment (although long term effects aren’t known yet), they are more friendly to our planet than R22 but not completely effect free and there is a small drop in efficiency of the equipment.

Option two – (In the short term this may have a higher initial outlay however the benefits of installing a new unit will become apparent.)


New air conditioning equipment uses a refrigerant called R410a and it is currently the world accepted refrigerant replacement in air conditioning it is planet friendly and an efficient refrigerant.
The most important fact about new equipment is the technological advances that have been made in the industry. It is now considerably more energy efficient than units manufactured a few years ago, so savings will be made in the long term.
In addition buying an energy efficient system with a three or five year warranty (depending on manufacturer) makes a lot of sense; another advantage with a re-fit is new systems look more ascetically pleasing. There are financial incentives as well from the government. It’s a scheme called the “carbon trust ECA scheme”
See the ECA web page for more details. ECA = Enhanced Capital Allowances


HM Revenue and Customs Expenditure on energy-saving plant or equipment.



September 2009




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