R22 has not been legal for use in new AC equipment since 2004. In 2010, existing AC equipment became affected. A European Regulation (known as the ‘ODS Regulation’) imposed a ban in all EU Member States against the use of new (or 'virgin') R22 to maintain existing AC equipment. Since then, only recycled R22 obtained from decommissioned AC equipment or reclaimed R22 can be used. Such recycled or reclaimed R22 is becoming increasingly scarce and expensive.
This has now changed, from 1st January 2015 AC systems will not be able to be topped up with any R22, whether that be virgin, recycled or reclaimed.
There will be two options for such AC systems-
Option 1: they are replaced by new AC equipment
Option 2: alternative modern refrigerant is used to top them up. This will normally involve having to replace parts of the current AC system.
Things to consider when choosing which is the better of these two options include:
Some manufacturers suggest that using modern refrigerant in converted AC systems can lead to poorer equipment performance and so higher energy costs. Any increase in energy costs is something property owners and occupiers will want to avoid given recent legislative developments, such as the introduction of the Carbon Reduction Commitment Energy Efficiency Scheme and the passing of the Energy Act 2011. The Energy Act paves the way for new rules making it unlawful to let properties with low energy performance ratings without undertaking work to improve their energy performance.
See Mitsubishi's Case for Replace document for more information.