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F-Gas Support: doing nothing with R22 is not an option

F-Gas Support has issued its most strongly worded advice yet to companies operating R22 and other HCFC systems, telling them ‘doing nothing is not a sustainable option’ in the wake of the phase out at the end of the year.

The guidance from the government backed group states the case starkly: “The imminent ban represents a very real business threat to any company which uses R22 or R408A in their processing or air conditioning operations. Typical applications include refrigeration in supermarkets, blast coolers, cold stores and process coolers and many times of building air conditioning. Many of these applications are absolutely critical to the continued operation of their owners’ business.”

The guidance RAC 8 exhorts companies to draft a strategic approach, following an assessment of the business risk of all equipment using HCFCs and then to decide between three basic options: Replace equipment, Convert it, using a retrofill or alternative refrigerant or Leave as is. But the guidance stresses that the third option is only viable if there is a guaranteed stock of HCFCs or the system is not business critical. End users with flooded systems cannot use retrofills or drop-ins it warns.

The guidance also contains the updated EU legislation which sees new rules for record-keeping, leak-testing and refrigerant tracking for HCFCs. This brings the rules broadly into line with the F-Gas regulations, so anyone with R22 or R408A in their systems will now need to check for leaks every 12 months, if the charge is 3kg or above, or every 6 months if it is 30kg or above. Any leaks found have to be repaired within 14 days and the system needs to be checked again a month after a leak is repaired.

Like F-Gas, details of the refrigerant charge at maintenance, repair and disposal have to be kept, along with the details of the company or technician who performed the service.

The guidance also notes that recent legislation amendments restrict the use of recycled HCFCs – where it has been given only basic cleaning after recovery – can only be reused by the firm who recovered the gas or the owner of the site. It cannot be traded.

RAC is holding its first Round Table Debate on R22 phase-out. See next month’s issue for details.