The production of newly-manufactured R-22 refrigerant is slated to end in 2020 due to provisions in the Clean Air Act, which phase out production of all refrigerants with ozone-depleting potential.
R-22 is an excellent refrigerant with many uses and a huge installed base in refrigeration and HVAC applications. According to one estimate, as of 2017 there are 60 to 70 million systems in the U.S. operating with R-22 refrigerant.
NOTE: It's useful to understand the background, rules, and penalties for non-compliance, as described in this section. When you are ready to learn more about how to proceed, click the link on the three options below to help decide whether you should maintain, retrofit, or replace your current system.
Existing Inventories and reclaimed R-22 needed to satisfy demand
In June 2013, as part of the President's Climate Action Plan, the EPA utilized the Significant New ALternatives Policy (SNAP) to allow the use of environmentally-safe refrigerants to replace ozone-depleting CFCs, HCFCs, and high GWP HFCs. As a result, the EPA reviewed refrigerant use applications to determine if viable lower GWP alternative refrigerants were available. When suitable alternatives are identified, they are approved for use in specific applications.
Applications that have not had SNAP rule changes restricting or prohibiting the use of refrigerants include:
Applications that have had SNAP rule changes include:
Therefore, refrigerants such as R-134A, R-404A, R-407A, R-407C, R-507, R-422B, and R-410A can continue to be used in these applications. There are no regulations restricting the manufacture of these refrigerants, so equipment owners can be confident in their ability to obtain and use these refrigerants for the life of their installed equipment.
A recent amendment to Section 608 extends the existing regulation to HFC refrigerants and, effective Jan. 2019, lowers the leak rate threshold in equipment containing 50 or more pounds of any refrigerant. It also requires owners/operators to repair leaks that exceed the threshold and perform verification and follow-up inspections to confirm that leaks are repaired.
The EPA can assess civil penalties up to $44,539 per day, per violation, for non-compliance.
|System Type||Current Allowable Leak Rate||Effective 1/1/19|
|Industrial process refrigeration||35%||30%|
NOTE: Each independent refrigerant circuit in a system is considered a separate system for leak rate applicability.
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