Calling all businesses and homes with air conditioning systems – are you aware of the R22 phase out legislation? Owners of air conditioning systems need to be aware of the new law and actions they need to take, as the R22 phase out deadline is fast approaching.
From 1st January 2015, European legislation will come into place forcing property and business owners to upgrade or replace their systems before the new year. R22 remains one of the most common refrigerants used in the UK, so many companies nationwide are likely to be affected by this phase out process.
But remember that the phase out described is referring to the “use” of HCFCs. When deciding what action you will need to take it could be noted that ‘use’ in relation to any cooling equipment containing HCFCs means anywhere in production, maintenance and refilling of cooling products or equipment.
This basically means that you arepermitted to carry on using equipment that contains HCFCs beyond the R22 phase-out, but that you must not allow any type of maintenance or servicing to be undertaken on it if it involves the refrigerant circuits.
So why has this legislation come into place?
It could cost businesses a lot of money to replace or upgrade all of their air conditioning systems. Here are the main points you need to know and action to take as the deadline approaches:
What is R22 and why is it being banned?
R22 is a HCFC (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons) and this group of substances has been banned from use in new air conditioning systems since 2010. However, many older air conditioning units still rely on R22 to work, and in fact most systems installed before 2003 will be affected by this new legislation.
R22 is used in lots of air conditioning units and other cooling equipment as the refrigerant. It has been found as a chemical which contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer, so therefore has a hugely negative impact on the environment. As there are lesser harmful chemicals available now to do the same job, it has been decided to terminate the supply of R22. If it escapes from units it can damage the Ozone layer which could have devastating consequences.
What do I need to do to comply?
The legislation has been passed to encourage people to replace their current air conditioning units with more eco-friendly systems. Replacing or upgrading your current system may actually be worthwhile though, as older systems can use up to 50% more energy than current models. If you don’t choose to replace your air conditioning in time, you will not be able to top up the refrigerant, which will leave your system redundant. You may also be liable to financial fines if you are non-compliant, so contact your local supplier soon and arrange for the changes to be made.