Knowing the phaseout dates of HCFCs such as R22 air conditioning refrigerant will help you make a wise and good decision to ensure that your investment in the HVAC equipment are worthwhile. See the 8 facts that you need to consider before purchasing any new equipment.
Fact 1: HVAC Equipment Life Expectancy
Most HVAC equipment can last a long time, some up to 30 years. If you purchase an equipment in year 2013 that uses R-22 refrig., you will be using R-22 that is reclaimed if your unit need to top up the refrig. after year 2020. Hence, make sure that you checked the refrig. used and its life expectancy.
Fact 2: Refrigerant Safety Classification
Check the toxicity and flammability of the refrig. used. ASHRAE Standard 34 classified R-134a, R-407C and R-410A as class A1 which is lower in toxicity and no flame propagation. R-123 is classified as B1 which is higher in toxicity. As far as possible, try using a lower toxicity and lower flame propagation refrig.
Fact 3: Efficiency of System
Check the efficiency of the entire system. It is not a function of the refrig. but of all the components in the air conditioning system. For instance, a chiller efficiency is a function of the compressor, evaporator, condenser, pumps, towers, air handlers and controls systems to name a few.
Fact 4: Green Refrigerant
The type of refrig. used in your air conditioner or heat pump equipment can earn a point in LEED certification. One of the criteria for LEED certification is that the refrig. used in a HVAC equipment must not contain CFC. Additional point is earned if it does not contain R-22 and R-123. Hence R-134a, R-407C and R-410A are considered "green" refrig. that earn the extra point. This is one good point to consider as a manufacturer or designer of a HVAC system.
Fact 5: R-22 Supply
R22 air conditioning refrigerant cannot be used in new equipment after year 2010. Small amount will be produced to service equipment until year 2030 when its production will stop. If your equipment still uses R-22 after this, do not be alarmed as there are still many R-22 HVAC systems in the field that can be reclaimed for service and repair.
Fact 6: R-11 Replacement
R-11 is used mostly in centrifugal chillers. Its replacement is R-123 which is a HCFC refrig. It will not be available after 2020. From 2020 to 2030, it will only be available for service. Beyond 2030, only reclaimed R-123 is available.
Fact 7: "Green" Refrigerant Replacement Availability
Huge cooling systems which include screw chillers and positve pressure centrifugal are now being designed using R-134a and R-407C. Smaller systems below 100 tons are using R-410A as replacement for R-22.
Fact 8: Be Proactive
Do your part by being proactive in the selection of air conditioning systems. Use equipments that are environmental friendly based on the 1987 Montreal Protocol and 1997 Kyoto Protocol.