The commonly used R-22 refrigerant has now been banned since the end of 2014, potentially impacting the majority of UK organisations with air conditioning or refrigeration systems. However, these systems can still be repaired without the coolant having to be replaced. According to Simon Green of Green Building Design Consultants “As long as the systems are in good working order and well maintained, there is no need to replace the coolant.”
Factors to consider when deciding whether equipment is still fit for purpose are; the efficiency of the system, condition of mechanical and electrical component and potential leakage. “If there is a fault with compression, a coil is blocked or split, or pipework is split then of course, the coolant has to be replaced or a new system installed.” Simon continues, “landlords and tenants could be affected by this and need to consider taking action before the end of a lease to avoid any complications and incurred costs.”
Refrigerants which have previously been banned are still safely operating in air conditioning systems throughout the UK and this is exactly the same for R-22. These systems run efficiently for many years, in fact some 30 year old systems which have been well maintained are actually in better condition than 10 year old systems which haven’t been well looked after.
Green Building Design Consultants recently attended a site in Milton Keynes which uses 504C coolant, banned in 1985. This cooling system still functions perfectly well so there was no need to replace components or change the coolant. Additional equipment was fitted alongside the existing heat exchangers and the whole system is set to continue working effectively for several years to come.
“It is important to understand that there is no obligation to purchase new equipment and coolant because of the ban. Equipment that is in good working order should be sufficient for many years depending on the servicing and maintenance of the product”, argues Simon Green.
Every cooling and air conditioning system requires a different approach. For general advice, or if you have specific concerns about your system or the coolant involved, please contact Simon Green on 01992 552 111.