As of January 1, 2020, R22, a common refrigerant used in residential and commercial HVAC units, is no longer being manufactured. Refrigerant is a chemical that cools the air in your HVAC system. R22 is the most common refrigerant on the market, but has been deemed a hazard to the environment by the Environmental Protection Agency. If you are an operations manager, you should begin preparing for the switch now. Let us help you explore some of your “cleaner” R22 replacement options.
How Does R22 Affect the Environment?
R22, as well as a few other common refrigerants, contain Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs. HCFCs are greenhouse gases that damage the ozone layer when released into the atmosphere. The ozone layer protects us from the sun’s radiation which can cause skin cancer, eye cataracts, immune deficiency disorders as well as other negative effects.
Over the last decade, many states and international governments have banded together to reduce or eliminate HCFCs from commerce to reduce its negative effect on the environment. While R22 is very common, there are low impact R22 replacements that are environmentally safe.
R22 and other environmentally harmful refrigerants have already stopped scalable production. If your HVAC system uses R22, you will need to prepare for when you inevitably run out.
Carbon Dioxide (CO2)
Ammonia and CO2 were some of the oldest commercial refrigerants. HVAC systems moved away from CO2 due to the high pressure needed to serve as a refrigerant. It required small, stronger parts that were more expensive than what refrigerants like R22 use. However, as R22 gets phased out, and other alternatives become the norm, economies of scale would allow HVAC units that use CO2 to become more cost-effective.
R1234ze and R1234ze(Z)
Global Warming Potential (GWP) is a calculation that measures how much energy the emissions of a particular gas will trap over time compared to carbon dioxide. The higher the number, the worse that gas is for the environment. R1234ze and R1234ze(Z) are the ideal refrigerants for high-temperature heat pump systems for commercial and industrial applications. These refrigerants have GWP scores closer to one. In contrast, the commonly used refrigerant R134a has a GWP of around 1,300.
While CO2 and R1234ze and R1234ze(Z) have GWP of around 1, propane has a score of 13. Although that is a slightly higher score, the real attraction to propane as an R22 replacement is that it has similar thermodynamic behavior to R22, which boasts a similar energy efficiency. While CO2 would cause you to retrofit or buy a new, potentially more expensive system, propane is compatible with many of the commonly used heat exchanges and materials used today.
Prepare Your HVAC System Now
R22 and other environmentally harmful refrigerants have already stopped scalable production. If your HVAC system uses R22, you will need to prepare for when you inevitably run out. Some states are requiring that some stop using the refrigerant after 2022. Check what regulations are coming in the pipeline in your state to avoid scrambling at the last moment.
Regardless of what HVAC system you use or what refrigerant fuels it, Central Florida Store Services knows how to install, repair and maintain that system. Contact us today for a free consultation.