December 9, 2014

If you still have an air conditioning system based on R22, big changes are coming your way!

The US government’s environmental watchdog agency the EPA released new final allocation numbers for the phase-down of refrigerant R22 recently. R22 has been the primary refrigerant for residential and commercial use in the United States for the last 50 plus years. This end of life timeline is the latest part of an ongoing saga that has developed since the Kyoto Protocol was signed by George H W Bush in 1992, banning the use of HCFCs. Many of you can remember the switch from R12 to R134a in cars that happened in the 1990s. The R22 phaseout is the second part of that law, and will affect home and business owners who haven’t yet transitioned to a 410a system in their heating and cooling systems.

In the new ruling, the EPA has opted to implement the most aggressive of the proposed schedules, choosing to end all manufacture or import of R22 in the United States on January 1, 2020.

The allocation schedule is as follows
  • 2014: 51,000,000 lbs.
  • 2015: 22,046,000 lbs.
  • 2016: 17,635,000 lbs.
  • 2017: 13,227,000 lbs.
  • 2018: 8,818,000 lbs.
  • 2019: 4,409, 000 lbs.
  • 2020: 0 lbs.

As you can see there will be 30 million fewer pounds of refrigerant available to the industry starting January 1, 2015. Based on what we saw in the 1990s with the R12 to R134a change over when R12 sold for over $400 a pound, I would suspect that the price of R22 will skyrocket because of supply constraints in 2015.

The EPA has also vowed to review the “dry charge” loophole in the coming year. No final word on that yet. Additionally, the EPA is also looking at further regulation of HFCs and expanding 608 regulations.

Further Reading:

To view the rule, please click here.

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