Phase Our of Refrigerant R-22
What should you know about the phase-out of refrigerant R-22? HCFC-22 (or R-22 as it’s more commonly known) has been the refrigerant of choice for over 4 decades. Unfortunately for the environment, release of R-22 (a greenhouse gas) contributes to ozone depletion and global warming. So, the EPA has implemented a schedule as a phase-out of refrigerant R-22.
As the manufacture of R-22 is phased out over the coming years as part of an agreement to end production of HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), manufacturers of residential air conditioning systems are offering equipment that uses ozone-friendly refrigerants.
Under the terms of the agreement the phase-out of refrigerant R-22 will follow this timeline:
- By 1/1/2004 U.S. reduced consumption by 35%
- By 1/1/2010 U.S. reduced consumption by 75% – still produced to be used only on existing equipment – may not be used on newly installed systems
- By 1/1/2015 U.S. will reduce consumption by 90%
- And by 1/1/2020 U.S. will reduce consumption by 99.5% – no longer produced – can only be recovered and recycled
No R-22 is allowed to be vented into the atmosphere during installation, service, or retirement of equipment. It must be recovered and recycled (for re-use in the same system), reclaimed (reprocessed to same purity as new R-22), or destroyed.
As the phase-out of refrigerant R-22 gradually progresses, non-ozone depleting refrigerants are being introduced. Under the Clean Air Act, the EPA reviews alternatives to evaluate their effects on human health and the environment. They have compiled a list of substitutes that they deem acceptable. One of these is R-410A, a blend of HFCs that does not contribute to deletion of the ozone layer.
The transition to phase-out refrigerant R-22 to systems that rely on replacement refrigerants like R-410A has required a re-design of heat pump and air conditioning systems. Consumers should be aware that HVAC technicians should be schooled in installation and service techniques required for this change. You can be confident that the techs at LHT Cooling, Heating and Refrigeration, Inc. are experienced in this matter.