If your current commercial AC unit uses R22 refrigerant – and virtually all of today’s AC units do — it’s time to consider replacing it. As you may know, in January of 2015, the ban on the sale and use of R22 was instituted, with the exception being for existing refrigeration and AC equipment. However, in January of 2020, there will be a complete ban on the production and import of R22 refrigerant, and older AC systems will have to depend on the stockpile of the refrigerant. Experts predict that the supplies will quickly diminish. Or, if you are able to access supply, it will be very expensive.
History of R22 and reason for its ban
In 1928, a mixture of carbon, fluorine and chlorine known as CFC was used as a refrigerant, but it was quickly determined to be unsafe for the environment. An alternative combining hydrogen, carbon, fluorine and chlorine — known as HCFC-22, R22 or Freon — was developed as a replacement and was considered safer because it was not flammable, toxic or corrosive. It was also odorless.
However, after more testing in the mid-1970s, the EPA mandated the phase out of R22 as the result of growing environmental concerns. Acting in accordance of The Clean Air Act, the phase out was enacted to protect the earth’s ozone layer from the ozone-depleting compound (chlorine) found in R22.
As R22 is gradually phased out, alternative refrigerants are being introduced. One of these substitutes is R-410A, a blend of hydrofluorocarbons that does not contribute to depletion of the ozone layer.
What are your options?
There are essentially three options for your business when the R22 ban begins in 2020:
· Keep your current unit and hope that you can access R22 refrigerant to keep it running. But, again, this is a risk, as the supplies will diminish and the cost of R22 if and when you do find it available will likely be quite high.
· Enhance your current AC unit with a high-grade retrofit in order to meet the new standards and be compatible with the newer R-410A refrigerant. However, this option is expensive – and especially cost inefficient if your unit is a bit older and continues to need maintenance and repair.
· Replace the unit with a brand new unit that meets the new guidelines.
Of the three options, the vast majority of industry experts recommend replacement. Although stopgap measures may do the trick in the short run, older systems are bound to require more frequent repairs while their cooling capabilities continue to decline. In addition to having a new system that meets the new standards, you’ll have peace-of-mind knowing that you have a state-of-the-art AC unit with warranty, maximum performance, and increased efficiency for lower bills!
Call Blackall today!
As your HVAC (and plumbing) specialist, Blackall Mechanical is committed to unsurpassed excellence and integrity – second to none! Composed of industry professionals with over 135 years of combined experience, Blackall can handle all of your HVAC needs – from the smallest service and repair job, to the largest commercial construction project, including retrofit or equipment upgrades.
For more information on the R22 ban and to discuss your options for replacement, call Blackall today! Thanks in advance for choosing Blackall Mechanical! Contact us today!