- Who will this affect?
- Why is HCFC-22 being phased out?
- What options are available to the Food Service Industry?
- When can we expect more changes?
Who will the phase out of HCFC-22 affect?
Contractors, technicians, and equipment owners of refrigeration using HCFC-22, often referred to by a brand name, such as Freon. Other common HCFC products are R22, R123, R401A, R401B, R402A, R402B, R403B R408A, R409A, R414B and R416A. As a facility manager or owner, it’s important that you understand these different refrigerants so that you can make informed decisions for your facility’s equipment. If you are unaware or confused about what refrigerant your specific equipment uses, reach out to your service technician. Clark Service Group’s factory trained technicians will be able to identify the refrigerant and answer any questions you have pertaining to HCFC-22 regulations.
The most commonly affected food service equipment is refrigeration units purchased before 2010: The pre-charged appliances rule prevented the sale or distribution of refrigeration products and components containing HCFC-22, HCFC-142b, or blends containing one or both of these substances manufactured on or after Jan. 1, 2010, but not to appliances or components manufactured before that date.(www.rsesjournal.com)
Why is HCFC-22 being phased out?
HCFC-22 is not a natural gas; it is a man-made, colorless, odorless gas, created as an alternative to the highly ozone-depleting CFC-11 and CFC-12. However, due to the ozone depletion potential it contains, as well as possessing potent greenhouse gasses, HCFC-22 has a global warming potential that is 1810 times worse then carbon dioxide. By phasing out the production/use of ozone-depleting substances like HCFC, it is reducing the risk of skin cancer, UV radiation exposure, climate fluctuation, and overall global warming.
What options are available to the Food Service Industry?
Relax! No immediate change is required. This is a phase out not a knock out. The regulations state the production and import of HCFC-22 will come to an end as of 2020. That does not mean the use and sale of HCFC-22 will end. There are options!
- Repair: Stock up on all the HCFC-22 you can get your hands on, you are going to need it. The cost of repairing an existing (R-22) unit will increase dramatically due to the diminishing supply of the required refrigerant. According to EPA, by tightening leaks and performing preventative maintenance, you can keep your refrigerant emissions down and reduce the need to purchase additional HCFC-22.
- Retrofit: Many non-ozone-depleting alternatives to HCFC-22 are available for use in retail food refrigeration equipment. A full list of acceptable alternatives under SNAP by end-use is available at www.epa.gov/ozone/snap/refrigerants. When evaluating an alternative for retrofitting a system, be sure to follow the manufacturer’s suggested handling and installation guidelines and to consider possible effects on the system’s energy consumption.
- Replace: If your equipment is outdated, or in constant need of repair, replacing it may a more efficient choice.
With the new regulations being put into place, we will also see procedures, laws, and technology evolve. EPA has planned to list several substitutes as unacceptable for use in new equipment as of January 1, 2016. States such as California have also commenced subjecting retail food refrigeration to refrigerant management programs to ensure dated equipment is in operating safely. Service companies are implementing training programs to train technicians on retrofitting techniques and safe refrigerant disposal regulations. HCFC-22 will be completely phased out by 2030.