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R-22 – Fading Fast

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Sara Jackson COAC Customer Service Manager

As HVAC system owners and contractors, we should all be paying attention to the major changes in the refrigeration markets occurring in 2016. As the complete phase-out of R-22 continues, the EPA has declared that in 2016 only 18 million pounds of R-22 can be produced or imported. The 2016 amount is down from 51 million pounds allowed in 2014, and will be decreasing significantly each year until December 31, 2019, when no new or imported R-22 will be permitted in the United States.

The R-22 supply dwindles and the “normal to warmer-than-usual” temperatures, predicted by meteorologists, for this coming summer will assuredly increase the demand. R-22 prices were up 15% in the final quarter of 2015 and are anticipated to reach record levels by the end of 2016. Refrigerant distributors will be subject to allocation limits and supplies will become scarce. The possibilities of imported counterfeit R-22 is a real and likely possibility, therefore purchasers will have to be vigilant in their research and trust who they are buying from.

r-22 Fading AwayAnother notable change will be the end of production of the “dry-shipped” unit (equipment designed to use R-22, yet not containing any refrigerant at the time of sale/shipment). As of the end of February, manufacturers are no longer able to sell this type of equipment. This means all new units will be required to use other types of refrigerants.

The phase-out will force owners of R-22 equipment to replace their systems or transition to an environmentally approved retrofit alternative for their legacy systems. Manufacturers are coming to the table with new refrigerants such as Gentron 422D, Performax LT, and Solstice N40. These next generation products all have different characteristics and performance specifications. When retrofitting with these alternative refrigerants it will be important to note the lubricant choice and its effect on system performance and to recognize the need to replace elastomers, O-rings, and possibly system valves during that retrofit. In this rapidly changing industry, it will behoove the consumer to research the options and regulations and form solid, reliable relationships with well-informed service providers they can trust to do the job right and keep the comfortable air flowing.

Alternative Refrigerant Links:

422D https://www.honeywell-refrigerants.com/americas/product/genetron-422d/

N40 https://www.honeywell-refrigerants.com/americas/?document=solstice-n40-data-sheet&download=1

Performax LT https://www.honeywell-refrigerants.com/india/?document=honeywell-genetron-performaxlt-technical-specs&download=1

 

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