By: Todd Washam
Beginning January 1, 2020, the production and import of R22 will end. However, stockpiled and reclaimed/recycled R22 will still be legal to use.
R22 is being phased out because it is an ozone depleting substance (ODS). The U.S. is a signatory to the Montreal Protocol which phased out ODS, thus the U.S. is required to abide by these phaseouts.
Many contractors are concerned about misinformation about R22 availability. In ACCA’s research and in working with refrigerant manufacturers and reclaimers, ACCA believes there will be enough stockpiled and reclaimed R22 to allow for a smooth HCFC (R22) transition.
Do we know how much R22 is and will be available? No, but there are some indicators that show that R22 should be available for several years.
According to Glenn Haun, Director of Sales for Arkema, one of ACCA’s corporate partners, “Arkema has done significant market research and we estimate that there is sufficient R22 to serve the market needs for at least five years.”
Haun also stated, “Take R12 for instance, which was phased out on January 1, 1996. There are still R12 systems operating in the U.S. and contractors are still able to purchase R12 to service those systems.”
However, according to a large reclaimer, one of the challenges that could decrease R22 availability is the mixing rate of reclaimed product. Some reclaimers lack the ability to separate refrigerants when they received recovery cylinders that are made up of a cocktail of refrigerants. The increased mixing rate and inability to separate those products could have an impact on the supply but ACCA is not certain that that alone would cut down on the years of projected availability.