I am afraid its time to come out with the truth about R22 phase-out. Almost nobody in the air con industry is doing anything about it.
Or more precisely, most people are leaving it till the last minute to save money. I don’t know if anyone’s heard, but there is a recession on, so it’s not surprising. Let’s face it, if you’ve got a couple of spilt systems installed they hardly got a thrashing this summer, so aircon is not the big priority at the moment.
I think as in every other industry nobody will do anything until they really have to, R22 replacement is going to have to happen next year, but very few people will do any work before then.
I see plenty of people advising retro-filling. On the face of it this is a good idea but it has generally gone untested, so no one knows how well or for how long it will work. It was recommended that a trial should be set up to answer these questions. Well done that man I couldn’t agree more. However shouldn’t this have been done years ago? So what will actually happen is that on the 1st of January if your old R22 kit leaks you are going to get the chance to road test the new replacement refrigerant in real time. Jolly good luck and let me know how it goes.
What scared me about RAC’s recent Round Table on R22 was the fact that the oil industry still needs a hell of a lot of R22 - apparently it’s not unknown for them to need 30 tonnes of the stuff in 24 hours.
So let’s imagine the scenario: there’s a big leak at the oil plant and if the oil people don’t get their R22 they will have to shut the place down. If the plant shuts down, that means you then have a petrol shortage. And nothing panics Gordon Brown like a petrol shortage, so he will ring his chums outside the EU and get some more R22 shipped in. Who’s going to tell him off? Replacing the kit is not going to happen overnight, while there is a petrol shortage going on.
By Graham Hendra
Graham Hendra is Consulting Technical Manager at Spaceair