R-22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and was commonly used in air conditioning, process chiller and industrial refrigeration plant applications.
Due to its ozone depletion potential and status as a potent greenhouse gas, it will soon be phased out completely. These changes in legislation will
affect any company that sustains the need for or has any plant containing R22 refrigerant.
What is R22 and why is it being phased out?
R22 was used alongside the highly ozone depleting (ODP) CFC’s, but has a relatively low ozone depletion potential by comparison. Nonetheless, even
this lower ODP is no longer considered acceptable.
As of 31st December 2014, the Montreal Protocol stated that all HCFC’s, including R-22, will be banned from use.
In addition, operators of HCFC refrigeration systems must take “all precautionary measures practicable” to prevent leakages. Any systems containing
more than 3Kg of HCFC refrigerant must be checked annually for leakage by suitably qualified personnel. Any HCFC refrigerant removed from a system,
during maintenance or at end of life, must be properly recovered for re-use, recycling or destruction.
Recommendation to users of R-22 and other HCFC’s:
- Start planning for HCFC phase out now
- This will also give you time to consider the most appropriate options and will enable you to minimise cost implications
- Ensure you are complying with the leakage and recovery obligations
Understanding the current legislation is crucial during the replacement and specification process as critical deadlines are approaching.
The Fluorinated Greenhouse Gases Regulations 2009
F-Gas is the term used to describe fluorinated gasses.
These gasses are refrigerants R134a, R407C and R410A and all come under the regulation. The objective is to ensure containment by raising
professionalism and good record keeping.
It is our duty of care to ensure the widest knowledge and understanding of these regulations.
Details of the obligations in the new regulations:
General obligation to prevent leakage
The operators must prevent leakage of HFC refrigerants and as soon as possible repair any detected
Regular Leak Testing
Certified personnel, on a regular basis, must check plants for leakage.
- Plant with 3kg – 30kg must be checked annually
- Plant with 30kg – 300kg must be checked every 6 months
- Plant with over 300kg must be tested once every 3 months.
In addition, plant must be rechecked within one month after a leak has been repaired to ensure that the repair has been effective.
The Operator must keep a record (log book) of the entire plant; the records must include information, such as refrigerant quantities and type. It
must also log all activities involving all refrigeration use, such as reclaim, service and disposal.
If the refrigerant has to be removed from a system to gain access to a part or for disposal, it must be properly recovered by certificated
personnel. After recovery, the refrigerant can be reused or sent for reclamation or destruction.
Adequately Qualified Staff
Personnel carrying out leak testing, gas recovery installation and maintenance must have a suitable refrigerant handling qualification.
Any new system placed on the market must be fitted with a label clearly stating the type of refrigerant and quantity of HFC refrigerant used.
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive TM44
The Energy Performance of Buildings Directive is designed to help reduce carbon emissions from buildings. One of its articles states all air
conditioning systems over 12Kw should be inspected regularly – at least every five years. These inspections will highlight ways to reduce carbon
emissions and may also reduce running costs.
The purpose of an air conditioning inspection is to help reduce carbon emissions from buildings. The report resulting from an air conditioning
inspection will offer practical advice and guidance about how to increase the efficiency of an air conditioning system, which as well as reducing
carbon emissions will provide landlords and tenants with a real opportunity to reduce a building’s operational costs.
What is the legal requirement?
All air conditioning systems over 5 years old with rated outputs over 12Kw must undergo regular inspections by qualified energy assessors at least
every five years. Systems with outputs of more than 250Kw should have had their first inspection before 1st January 2009 and those with outputs of
between 12Kw and 250Kw to have had their first inspection by 1st January 2011.
Need help or advice? For more information on compliance, please call 0800 4792011 or email [email protected] .
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