A Refrigerant For The History Books
It’s been almost a whole year now since the final ban on using R-22 refrigerant to top up air-conditioning units, process chillers and industrial refrigeration plants came into effect.
The 1st of January 2015 marked the final stage of a process that began in 2003 when the last new R-22 based air-conditioning equipment was manufactured. Topping up equipment with virgin R22 was banned in 2010 and from that time until the end of 2014 only the use of ‘reclaimed’ R-22 was allowed.
With such a long period of grace it’s no surprise that most of the migration from R-22 based systems to something more modern had taken place long before the final deadline. What might have been surprising to someone in 2003 is the wide variety of different refrigerants that have taken the place of the once dominant R-22.
New refrigerants like R-410A have taken much of the limelight but some older refrigerants like Carbon Dioxide have come into their own with ingeniously designed systems that make a mockery of some of the wild claims from back in 2003 that the ban on R-22 would lead to much less efficient air-conditioning.
At Kaimann we’re generally far more interested about what goes on the outside of the pipes than what passes through them but the R-22 replacement has had noticeable impacts on our business. In particular we’ve had more enquiries from customers who need to know what thickness of insulation to use to prevent condensation now they’re running a system operating at different temperatures from the old R-22 they were previously used to.
At the same time customers installing new systems are paying more attention to the overall installed energy efficiency of their system. In this context the quality of insulation and thermal performance have taken on a new importance – something I’m sure that the original architects of the R22 ban would be very proud of.