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The R22 Phase Out- What You Need to Know

Posted on by Belmar Services Ltd

The ban on the use of virgin HCFC gases represents a very real threat to any company which uses refrigerants like R22 or R408A in their processes or air conditioning systems. R22 remains one of the most commonly used refrigerants in the UK so many organisations are going to be affected by the ban.
Whilst the majority of end-users and contractors are aware of the imminent phasing out of R22 refrigerant and the relevant legislation, there is a lot of confusion circulating around the industry and few fully understand the potential impact that this legislation may have on them and their business.
Belmar Services Ltd are keen to present the facts to help clarify the issues that surround the phasing out of R22. We aim to help businesses everywhere cut through conflicting information, realise the facts and appreciate the wider implications of this ban:
• HCFC refrigerants have been proven to have ozone depletion potential, which means they can harm the environment if allowed to leak into the atmosphere. Legislation has been put in place to ensure the use of all HCFCs is phased out by 2015.
• The use and sale of virgin HCFC was banned from 31st December 2009. The use and sale of recycled HCFC will be banned from 31st December 2014, even if purchased before the deadline.
• R22 is widely used in air conditioning, so any business operating air conditioning systems that use R22 will be affected by the ban and must comply with the regulation.
• Whilst there are a number ‘drop-in’ refrigerants being promoted within the industry, they offer only a partial solution and could compromise system performance and render warranties invalid. End-users should realise that this could serve to merely defer as oppose to solve the problem.
• Energy costs are ever rising and old equipment can consume up to 50% more energy than new equipment, costing you more money and creating more carbon emissions. We are all under increased pressure to improve energy efficiency and replacing old R22 air conditioning systems can make the world of difference.
• Modern air conditioning systems offer more than double the efficiency levels of 10-15 year old systems and can also be far more efficient than traditional methods of cooling and heating buildings, resulting in reduced running costs and lower carbon emissions. All major end-users of air conditioning that uses R22 will need to consider the alternatives.
The imminent ban is already impacting on the availability of R22 and its largely anticipated that, as stocks deplete further, the price will rise accordingly and could force end-users to pay significantly inflated costs to maintain existing systems.
If your building uses air conditioning and it was installed before 2003 it is likely now at risk, so you should be considering a sensible approach to replacement. With R22 air conditioning systems reaching the end of their useful operating life, now is an ideal time to look at the benefits of an advanced, modern air conditioning system.
In response to the need for greater all round efficiency, air conditioning manufacturers are constantly striving to enhance the products and services they offer and have on-going policies to develop effective technologies that will help. Advanced technology means that, regardless of the need to plan for the phasing out of R22, the replacement of older air conditioning with newer systems already proves attractive by providing:
• Higher efficiency and lower energy bills
• Reduced CO2 emissions
• Renewed warranties and peace of mind

Case Study
There has never been a stronger case for replacing ageing air conditioning systems as there is now. From calculations we estimate that a 15-year-old air conditioning system has typically lost 15% of its capacity and consumes 15% more energy than when new. This leads to an increase in running costs and CO emissions, and as the building’s use will have evolved, the system may no longer be able to deliver the capacity required.
Air conditioning has advanced significantly over this time and a modern system typically consumes half the amount of energy as a 15-year-old system. For instance, a typical 10kW air conditioning system installed in an office environment 15 years ago which, at a current electricity tariff, would have cost £1680* per year to run when new, would now typically cost £298* more each year.
If this system were replaced with a new efficient R410A air conditioning system, substantial savings could be made so that the system would only cost £1283* a year to operate, giving a return on investment in just under two and a half years.
* Source: Mitsubishi Electric Audit Tool, detailed within ‘Planned Approach’ section.
The vast majority of R22 air conditioning systems are fixed speed which means that they are either ‘Off’ or ‘On’ and when they are ‘On’ they operate at full power. Modern systems are inverter-controlled, so the amount of power they consume is modulated to match demand, making them over 50%* more efficient than fixed speed.
Modern systems and controls not only maximise comfort levels, they also minimise energy use, can help protect buildings from increasingly tough environmental legislation and use R410A, a zero ozone depleting refrigerant.
It is non-flammable, non-toxic and has very good properties for air conditioning. Compared to R22, R410A offers typically double the efficiency, and will therefore lower running costs and CO emissions by up to 50%*.
* Figures are based on nominal conditions taken from the Mitsubishi Electric City Multi

So, whatever your situation, you are faced with the very real need to consider what actions to take in view of the imminent phasing out of R22. Belmar Services Ltd are keen to provide the appropriate solutions. Whatever your requirements, be it a single retail outlet, a large commercial complex or a number of sites across the UK, we have the widest range of solutions perfect for any size application.
For the smaller applications such as single shops, banks or offices, we offer a range of versatile yet affordable air conditioning systems that are quick to install, efficient and quiet to run. Providing reliable comfort for the minimum of fuss, we also offer split systems specifically designed to cater for medium sized applications, such as larger retail outlets and hotels.

Time is running out for R22 – Act now!

We’ve given you the facts, highlighted the potential impact and presented some potential solutions, so now it’s up to you to consider your options and plan accordingly for how you intend to deal with the imminent phasing out of R22. To discuss what options are available and how they best suit your individual needs, please contact Belmar Services Ltd on 0115 9551398.

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