If your air conditioning system is over 10 years old and uses R22 refrigerant, you need to consider a replacement system.
The R22 refrigerant used in such systems before 2003 has ozone-depleting potential and was banned from 1 January 2015. What this means for you now is that if your system breaks down or needs a service, it may need to be replaced because you won’t be able to get spare parts and you can no longer recharge your system using R22 refrigerant. Therefore, if yours is an R22 air conditioning system, you have two choices:
Do nothing and risk site shutdown and/or fines according to EC Ozone Regulation No. 1005/2009.
Plan a considered, costed replacement strategy to reduce the risk. Replacing your system can reduce running costs and carbon emissions while providing a more controllable, comfortable environment. Replacing your system needn’t be expensive and could even be cost neutral.
Here’s what you need to know.
The hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) compound (Chlorodifluoromethane or difluoromonochloromethane) is also known as HCFC-22 or by its more popularly known name of R22 refrigerant.
R22 Refrigerant is a colourless gas and was once a commonly used propellant and refrigerant in air conditioning applications. From 2010 only recycled or saved stocks of the R22 Refrigerant could be used and it can no longer be manufactured. R22 is classified as a greenhouse gas with a high global warming potential.
New legislation has come into force to limit the manufacture and use of R22 as a refrigerant. This has been necessary to reduce its impact on the environment and limiting its effect on global warming. From 2010 it was no longer possible to manufacture R22 and only existing stocks could be used limiting its availability and increasing its price.
The R22 refrigerant legislation changes are been made because it has been shown that R22 has a negative effect on the ozone layer which protects the earth from harmful ultraviolet (UV) light, there has also been discussion about the effects of R22 on global warming, whilst many believe its not the most significant contributor to global warming, it still has an effect which needs to be controlled through legislation. Many companies who use R22 Refrigerant in their systems started to comply with the R22 legislation in advance of the deadlines which has been demonstrated by the facts that the majority of R22 refrigeration units are at least one third of their way through their planned lifespan and when companies are modernising their plants, they are choosing to move over to alternative refrigeration solutions rather than spending money and resources repairing or maintaining the existing R22 refrigerant systems. In addition, new plants are being built that use refrigerants which have zero ozone depleting potential such as ammonia and R404A. These alternative refrigerants to R22 are also proven to be more energy efficient than the R22 refrigerant and are therefore a better and more popular choice for the companies in question.
The ultimate deadline is 2015 and many companies, even though they have started looking at the implications of looking at an alternative to R22 have left them an awful lot to do to comply with the full R22 legislation prior to this date.
Another problem facing many companies is that they rely on the existing R22 refrigerant for their day to day business operation so they can’t simply “turn off” the process whilst an alternative is designed and built. 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. In order to efficiently facilitate the move away from R22 Refrigerant, it is important to effectively and efficiently utilise the existing equipment wherever possible as well as the planned construction of new building, minimising disruption to ongoing operations and the smooth integration of new plant during a suitable period. However, it should not be forgotten that the most important part of the process is the careful and safe removal of the R22 and its integral chemicals.
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.
Since April 2017, Kimpton Air Conditioning Division have been a Business Solutions Partner of Mitsubishi. We work closely with them and all of our team are fully trained in the correct installation, maintenance and ongoing use of their equipment. Mitsubishi’s quality is renowned across the globe, and we’re proud to call ourselves official partners. Our in-depth product knowledge allows us to offer extended warranties of up to 7 years, providing maintenance inspections are performed regularly.
There are not many other players out there able to offer a full seven-year warranty. If you’re not familiar with them, here is a short intro video to better explain their position on R22 refrigerant replacement.
|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.|
Kimpton Energy Solutions has completed a number of high profile R22 replacement projects in recent years, listed below is a summary of a number of recently completed projects involving the replacement of R22 in refrigeration and air conditioning systems.
|CLIENT||NATURE OF WORKS|
|BUPA||De-commission existing 10 R22 split systems and replace with new VRF system|
|Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts||Replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems. 50No. Indoor units|
|News International||Replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems. 12No. Indoor units|
|Unilever||Phased replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems. 80No. Indoor units|
|Merseyside Fire & Rescue Service||Phased replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems with a new VRF system|
|Unilever||Replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems.|
|Kimberley Clark||Replacement of existing R22 air conditioning systems with a new VRF system|
Customer: Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS
Service: HVAC replacement
Project value: £200k
Southport and Ormskirk Hospital NHS Trust is the principal healthcare provider to 258,000 people across Southport, Formby and West Lancashire. The Trust comprises two hospitals: Southport & Formby District General Hospital and Ormskirk & District General Hospital.
With legislation coming in to force to limit the manufacture and use of R22 as a refrigerant within the air conditioning systems, repair of the existing HVAC system was becoming uneconomic and a refrigerant leak would cause environmental harm. Efficiencies available from new HVAC systems offered fast financial payback and removed the potential issues of an R22 based system going forwards.
A breakdown in the system was a risk the trust could not take, so proactive action was taken to replace the systems throughout the estate.
The project involved the replacement of air conditioning plant at both the Ormskirk District General Hospital site and Southport and Formby Hospital site with newer, more efficient and environmentally friendly systems.
A total of 27 systems were replaced at the Ormskirk site with 42 systems being replaced at the Southport site. There were also a number of Fridge/Freezer systems that were replaced on both sites, including all associated pipework and controls. On both sites, there are air handling units that had DX cooling coils and associated condensing units that were also replaced with modifications carried out to the existing Building Management System (BMS) to ensure its compatibility with the newly installed equipment.
The scope of the project involved de-gassing and removal of existing R22 based air conditioning systems, the replacement equipment for the walk-in fridges and freezers and the replacement of AHU DX cooling coils and associated condensers. Equipment supplied to the Southport site that would be exposed to the corrosive elements of the sea air were coated in “Bronze Glow” post-manufacture to protect against corrosion.
We have seen a number of other projects locally where this level of protection has not been added and lead to a shortened life for the plant and equipment.
All of the works were carried out across two live hospital sites. Careful and considerate planning had to be undertaken in liaison with the hospital staff to ensure that the works could be carried out in an efficient manner, whilst causing minimal disruption to the operation of sites.
The replacement systems were required to comply with current legislation regarding the use of ozone depleting chemicals in refrigeration systems, and therefore unavoidable, however, the new systems are more efficient both in terms of energy usage and ongoing maintenance costs which will provide a long term benefit to the trust.