It’s Official: Ban on Remaining Production of R-22 Took Effect on January 1, 2020
By Bruce Heberle
On January 1, 2020, R-22 can no longer be produced or imported. Only existing inventory, recovered, recycled or reclaimed supplies of R-22 will be available. As a contractor, the supply of R-22 will be limited and R-22 refrigerant costs to service existing equipment may rise.
Only the production, not the use of R-22 has been phased out. Customers are NOT required to stop using R-22 air conditioners nor are contractors required to replace existing equipment. Contractors may continue to service R-22 equipment. All technicians must have EPA Section 608 certification to service existing equipment containing R-22. In addition, it is illegal to intentionally release any refrigerant when making repairs. Technicians must use refrigerant recovery equipment during service.
Going forward there are a few options for those contractors servicing R-22 systems.
- They can service then add R-22 to the system.
- They can replace the R-22 system with a new unit with a different refrigerant in it.
- They can recover (not mix) the R-22 refrigerant and replace with a SNAP approved alternative refrigerant.
The most common option when not repairing a R-22 system is to replace it with a R-410a system.
R-410a is a non-ozone depleting HFC refrigerant blend. If the contractor chooses to service the system and remove and replace the R-22 with an alternative refrigerant, be sure to choose a alternative refrigerant that in on the SNAP list and designed for your application. The alternative refrigerants, used for residential use, are also non-ozone depleting HFC blends.
R-22 worked well with low temperature, medium and high temperature applications. The alternatives do not work well in all three temperature ranges. Be sure to check manufacturers technical data to ensure the alternative refrigerant you choose works for your temperature application.
If your company has any questions about refrigerants and their applications, contact the manufacturer. They are more than willing to guide you to the best application of their products.