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R22 Refrigerant Legislation

New legislation is enforcing the removal and replacement of the low temperature refrigerant- R22 refrigeration system. R22 refrigerants are widely used throughout Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Systems, although these changes in legislation will affect any company that sustains the need for or has a high requirement for R22 refrigeration.


Why are the R22 legislation changes being made?

The reasoning behind the changes in the R22 refrigeration legislation is simple- studies have shown they have a detrimental effect on the ozone layer resulting in excessive UV levels. Due to this, the R22 refrigerants may contribute to further environmental damage. The extent to which R22 refrigerants contribute to global warming is still the subject of intensive debate, although many affected companies have taken the opportunity to comply with the new regulations earlier than planned. This is being demonstrated at two levels:

Firstly, the majority of R22 refrigeration units are at least one third of their way through their foreseeable life. As existing R22 refrigeration systems begin to require modernisation, the majority of companies are choosing to phase these out rather than go to expense of needlessly repairing or maintaining them.

Secondly, unlike the R22 refrigerants, each new factory build/extension will now use refrigerants such as ammonia and R404A which have zero ozone depleting potential. These refrigerants are also proven to be more energy efficient than the R22 refrigerant and are therefore a wiser and more popular choice for the companies in question.What are my company’s alternatives to R22?

Most companies that are affected by the R22 legislation will have a policy to specify only the following environmentally friendly refrigerants are incorporated in new equipment: ammonia, R404A and R407c. The chosen alternative is decided at business unit level and is usually dependant upon the business’ requirements towards energy efficiency.


When do the changes have to be completed by?

Although many companies have undergone or are in the process of exchanging their R22 refrigerants, huge conversions still need to be undertaken to ensure that the 2015 deadline for complete R22 replacement is accomplished.

Additional complications come about when considering the pressure of changing a R22 refrigeration system has upon a company that relies upon the refrigerator for it's daily running. Key to a smooth transition lies with ensuring the successful project management of the removal of the R22 refrigerant and professional installation of a replacement system.

Central project issues include effective and efficient utilisation of existing equipment wherever possible, construction of new building, minimising disruption to ongoing operations and the smooth integration of new plant during a suitable period. Most importantly, the careful and safe removal of the R22 and its integral chemicals is foremost to an effective exchange. The replacement of R22 also carries substantial risk as the new refrigerants contain Hydrocarbons. Consisting mostly of Iso-butane, Propane and Ammonia, these refrigerants have additional hazards associated with them which will require specialist engineering skills to deal with.

In addition, there is also an impending ‘Mandatory registration' of engineers onto the ACRIB register and Companies onto the REFCOM register that must be adhered to.

HCFC’s including R22 Refrigerant overview:

  • 01/01/2001 - Freeze at 2% of CFC consumption in 1989 + total HCFC consumption in 1989 by 01 January 2001.
  • 01/02/2002 - 15% cut
  • 01/01/2003 - 55% cut
  • 01/01/2004 - 70% cut
  • 01/01/2008 - 75% cut
  • end 2009 - Phase out complete

Controls Over Use of HCFC’s

From 01/07/1995 - HCFC’s will be banned except as solvents, as refrigerants, for the production of rigid insulating foams and integral skin foams in safety applications, in laboratory uses, including research and development, as feedstock in the manufacture of other chemicals and as a carrier gas for sterilisation substances in closed systems.

From 01/01/1996 - HCFC’s will be banned in the following uses: in equipment produced after 31/12/95 as: refrigerants in non-confined direct evaporation systems; refrigerants in domestic refrigerators and freezers; in motor vehicle, tractor and off road vehicle or trailer air conditioning and inroad public transport air conditioning.

From 01/01/1998 - HCFC use will be banned in equipment produced after 31/12/97 for rail public transport air conditioning.

From 01/01/2000 - HCFC use will be banned in equipment produced after 31/12/99 for use as refrigerants in public distribution and cold stores and warehouses and as refrigerants for equipment of 150kW and over shaft input.

From 01/01/2001 - HCFC’s are banned in all other refrigeration and air conditioning equipment produced after 31/12/2000, with the exception of fixed a/c equipment, with a cooling capacity of less than 100kW where use shall be prohibited from 01/01/2004 and of reversible air conditioning / heat pump systems where the use of HCFC’s shall be prohibited from 01/01/2004 in all equipment produced after 31/12/2003.

From 01/01/2010 - The use of virgin HCFC’s shall be prohibited in the maintenance and servicing of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment existing at that date.

From 01/01/2015 - The use of recycled HCFC's will be prohibited in the maintenance and servicing of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment existing at that date.


Who can help?

DGS Engineering Design Ltd, a leading design and engineering company based in West Yorkshire have succesfully completed R22 replacement projects for both Refrigeration and Air Conditioning applications.


Please contact us for more information regarding your R22 System.



Contact us

DGS Engineering Design Ltd

The Naze
Ingle Dene

Hebden Bridge


Phone: 01422 844376

Mob: 07931 095587

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