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Mastercool (Southern) Limited

Company Registered In England | Registered Address: Gatwick Office, Unit 12 Stanley Close, Kelvin Way, Crawley, West Sussex, RH10 9SE

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MCS Building Services - Mechanical and Electrical Installations, Refurbishment and Maintenance

R22 Replacement

R22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and was commonly used in air conditioning, process chiller and industrial refrigeration plan applications.  It will soon be phased out due to ozone depletion potential and status as a potent greenhouse gas.  These changes in legislation will affect any company that has a plant containing R22 refrigeration.

When Should I Replace?

Production of R22 air conditioning equipment has already ceased so no new equipment will contain R22 refrigerant.  R22 refrigerant is still being produced, but production will cease on 1st January 2010.

Reliable leak free R22 equipment need not necessarily be replaced immediately as even when new R22 refrigerant is no longer available, reprocessed R22 can be used until 2015.

Time Is Running Out For R22

After 31st December 2009 it will be illegal to use virgin HCFCs for the maintenance and servicing of refrigeration and air conditioning

Any business operating air conditioning systems that use R22 will therefore be affected

It should be noted that the bans described above refer to the “use” of HCFCs. This specifically means use for servicing and maintenance. It will remain legal to continue using RAC equipment containing HCFCs beyond the phase out dates providing they do not require maintenance that involves putting any HCFCs back into a system.

Given that most refrigeration systems leak to a certain degree, all current users of HCFC systems must develop a plan to manage their operations without virgin gas after December 2009. Doing nothing is not a sustainable option. Given the serious implications and potential costs, businesses should follow a strategic approach.

Why Replacement Makes Sense

Whilst the phasing out of R22 is likely to force end-users to take action, it’s important to note that radical advances in technology over recent years have already made the argument for replacing older systems a truly cost effective choice.  Increased efficiency in new systems and highly advanced levels of control quickly pay for themselves in terms of efficiency, energy savings and performance.

Convert Solution

For many types of RAC system, which are in good order, it will be possible to recommend a Convert Solution.  This covers a range of actions, from a relatively simple “retrofill” operation (using one of the “service” or “drop-in” HFC refrigerants that are compatible with the system’s existing mineral oil) to a more comprehensive modification to a standard HFC refrigerant (which will require a new type of oil at least, and may require additional compressor and/or heat exchanger capacity).

There are a number of “drop-in” gases offered by the main refrigerant suppliers (including HFCs 417A, 422A, 422D, 424A, 427A, 428A and 434A). They are however all mixtures, with component gases which boil at slightly different temperatures and pressures – a phenomenon known as “glide”. This is common with many of the other HFC refrigerants (which are widely used in direct expansion systems) and the industry has become familiar with this property. There is not, however, a recognised “retrofill” solution for flooded or pump-circulation systems. If you have a flooded HCFC system, then you should approach your refrigeration contractor or an independent consultant as soon as possible.

Whilst a conversion is often a practical option it must be noted that a converted plant may have less cooling capacity and / or be less efficient than the original system. Also, the conversion must be carried out by expert contractors to ensure that refrigerant leakage does not get worse after the conversion.

Should you require any further information or advice, please do not hesitate to contact us.

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