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R22 Replacement Technology

6th Sep 2010

As we near 31st December 2014 (Not as long as it may seem!) owners should be aware that R22 refrigerant will become scarce and will not be available at all after this date.This is because of the new F-Gas regulations banning manufacture and use of CFC refrigerants at that time.

This means that a lot of older air conditioning systems will become unserviceable after this date in the event of a breakdown or refrigerant leak.

H&C Contracts can offer help in two ways:

  • Retrofit with an alternative drop in refrigerant
  • Replace the equipment

The first option has no absolute guarantee of working satisfactorily for the long term but may be a short term solution for smaller systems.

The second is the correct long term solution and may indeed pay for itself in the future due to increased energy efficiencies which may be possible with new systems.

Especially of interest are the new R22 replacement technology units being manufactured by Mitsubishi and Daikin. These allow the re-use of existing piping and cabling. Only the outdoor and indoor units have to be replaced so minimizing the replacement cost whilst taking advantage of the much enhanced efficiencies of the modern technologies. These units are available for VRV and VRF systems as well as normal split systems.

H&C Contracts will be pleased to offer advice and costings for all options.


F-GAS Regulations - What you need to know

H&C Contracts can help!

  • All H&C Contracts refrigeration engineers have been trained and qualified in refrigerant handling to C&G 2079
  • H&C Contracts will supply and keep a logbook of your refrigerant transactions up to date as part of your maintenance contract
  • We can ensure your compliance with the regulations

The Regulation:
Owners and operators of refrigerant, air conditioning and heat pump systems should be aware of their legal responsibilities under EC regulation 842/2006 which came into force 4th July 2006 with additional requirements implemented 4th July 2007.

Who does it apply to:
These regulations apply to the “operators” of any refrigerant, air conditioning or heat pump systems containing 3Kg or more of HCFC refrigerant R22 and HFC refrigerants such as R407C, R410A and R134A. However the owner has responsibility for the operator’s obligations.

Intention of the F-Gas regulation:
It is aimed at containment of certain fluorinated gases which can impact on global warming. It specifies that this is done through regular checks for leaks (ideally with a fixed leak detection system for larger systems). In addition a system of monitoring refrigerant usage must be in place.

How do you know if your business is affected:
Only systems with refrigerant charges of 3 Kg or more are controlled by these regulations. Systems with 300Kg or more must also have a fixed leak detection system including an output to alert the operator of any alarms. Having this in place halves the number of leak checks required for systems of 30 Kg or more.

How often do these checks need to be carried out:

The table below is a guide to the requirements of the regulation: 

Refrigerant charge in system

Number of checks per year without leak detection

Number of checks per year with leak detection

3 - 30 Kg



30 - 300 Kg



≥ 300 Kg

Must have leak detection


Please note that the checks must be carried out by a certified engineer. Currently acceptable are City & Guilds 2079 certification or the CITB equivalent.

Every leak check must be recorded. Records must be kept for 3 years.

Where a leak detection system is installed its function must also be tested and recorded every 12 months.

These regulations also do not apply to fully hermetic systems under 6Kg.

When a leak is found:
The leak must be repaired as soon as is practicable and checked again within 30 days of the repair. This work must be done by a certified engineer (as above) and recorded.

Pressure relief valves:
The regulation requires that systems over 25Kw output and 5 years old have their pressure relief valves calibrated annually.

Penalties for non-compliance:
Penalties have yet to be announced but the regulation states that these “shall be effective, proportionate and dissuasive”.

How can H&C Contracts help with your F-Gas compliance?

  • All our engineers have City & Guilds 2079
  • Where we have a maintenance contract we will mark all systems with type and charge of refrigerant
  • Where we install a new system we will mark it with type and charge of refrigerant
  • We will carry out leak tests at maintenance visits in accordance with the regulations
  • We will record each leak test and use of refrigerant
  • All reclaimed CFC and HCFC refrigerants will be carefully weighed, recorded and taken to a licensed body for recycling or incineration
  • We will maintain an on site log book of all leak checks and refrigerant use

The above will ensure your compliance with the regulations!

Ozone depleting substances:

These are covered by ODS regulation 2037/2000 and include:


R502               This is already banned under ODS regulations
R11                 This is already banned under ODS regulations
R12                 This is already banned under ODS regulations


R22                 Virgin R22 will not be available legally after 31/12/2009. Recycled R22 will not be available and must not be used after 31/12/2014 including owner’s own stockpile. Any stock must be legally disposed of.

HCFC Blends:

R403B              Both ODS and F-Gas regulations apply
R408A              Both ODS and F-Gas regulations apply


R401A              Both ODS and F-Gas regulations apply
R407C              Both ODS and F-Gas regulations apply
R134A              Both ODS and F-Gas regulations apply

Implications: There are a lot of systems still around that will not be able to be recharged after 31st December 2014. The owner’s of these systems have three options:

Replace with new plant

Advantages -  

  • More efficient
  • 20 / 30 year life of new equipment
  • Can maybe group small plants
  • Design for current needs

Disadvantages -         

  • Most expensive but Daikin and Mitsubishi both now have R22 replacement technology in place. This means that only the equipment needs replacing.
  • The piping and wiring stays thus keeping down cost.
  • Longest to implement

Change refrigerant with “Drop-in”

Advantages -              

  • Quick implementation
  • Low capital cost

Disadvantages -     

  • Lower efficiency
  • Reliability risks
  • May need oil change and flush
  • Plant life not extended

Do Nothing   

Advantages -              

  • Delays decision
  • No immediate cost
  • New technology options may become available
  • Get maximum life out of existing plant

Disadvantages -         

  • Recycled refrigerants may become expensive
  • No refrigerant will be available after 31/12/14