In 2010, a European Regulation called the ‘ODS Regulation’ banned all use of new R22. If you’re in possession of AC or refrigeration units that still operate on R22, you won’t be able to top them up from 2015. Instead, you’ll either have to replace your old units with new, compliant equipment, or use a modern refrigerant to top them up, which will mean having parts of the existing units replaced.
Replacement or conversion?
Considering that any units using R22 refrigerant will now be at least ten years old, it could be time to think about replacing them. Some manufacturers advise against using new types of refrigerant in old AC systems, saying that converted systems can perform less efficiently and lead to higher energy costs.
Things to consider if you’re weighing up your options include:
• Age of existing air conditioning systems.
• How efficient the current equipment is. (Check TM44 assessment)
• Whether you have any leakage issues.
• Whether your existing equipment can be converted adequately and without loss of efficiency.
If converting your existing equipment could lead to a higher energy cost (and carbon footprint) you might just decide that replacement is the only viable option as the increase in energy cost might save money on replacing your old equipment a false economy.
The EC Ozone Regulations also make it a legal requirement that equipment containing 3kg or more refrigerant is checked annually for leakage, that refrigerant is recovered during servicing and at the end of the equipment’s life, and that only people with the prescribed qualifications are allowed to service or repair units.
It’s legally your responsibility as the operator of any AC or refrigeration units to check for leakages, and ensure any leaks you find are repaired as soon as possible. You’re also responsible for:
• Arranging proper refrigerant recovery by certified personnel during servicing and disposal
• Carrying out leak checks to a prescribed schedule
• Ensuring that leak checks are only carried out by qualified personnel
• Keeping records of refrigerants and servicing
If you have a preventative maintenance contract, you’re covered!