R22 is a colourless gas that has been used as a refrigerant in air conditioning systems that were manufactured before 2004. The gas was originally introduced to replace CFC-11 and CFC-12 as it was less harmful to the environment. However, amazingly it is still 1810 times more harmful to the ozone than carbon dioxide so government legislation has been gradually phasing out its use since 2010.
In 2000, the Ozone Regulation came into force banning the use of HCFC gases such as R22 in newly manufactured equipment due to the detrimental effects they had on the ozone layer.
As of 1st January 2010, it has been illegal to use freshly produced R22 to maintain air conditioning units in the EU. This meant that only reclaimed or recycled R22 could be used when servicing equipment, which involved taking the existing gas out of the system prior to servicing, then replacing the same gas afterwards rather than exchanging it for new gas.
From 1st January 2015, the use of any R22 gas in air conditioning units was banned, including reclaimed or recycled gases. This latest legislation means that businesses must take action to replace any R22 in systems with an alternative refrigerant gas.
There are two options available if your air conditioning system currently uses R22.
Firstly, you can use an alternative less harmful R410A refrigerant. However, not all gases are compatible with an older units. For large systems operating in with R22, and no feasible option to replacing the existing pipework within the building fabric there is a solution. Installing a self cleaning retrofit r22 outdoor system, specialist technology cleaning and preparing the current pipework for the use of new refrigerant and oils, allowing for a efficient operation with no additional building disruption.
The second option is to install a new air conditioning system. This option will be preferable, especially in businesses, because modern equipment is far more efficient and therefore running costs will be lower.
Before deciding on the best option for your system it is important to consider the age of the existing unit, the efficiency of a converted unit compared to a new system, and the overall cost of converting an old system or installing a new one. Once you have all this information you can make an informed decision.