HRAI technician checking furnace

About the phase-out | Phase-out schedule
Types and usage | HCFC alternatives | HCFC resources
Source an HVACR Contractor | About R-410A
The Hazards of Using Hydrocarbon Refrigerants in Residential and Commercial Air Conditioning

About the HCFC Phase-out

The majority of the HCFC phase-out impact from a standpoint of refrigerant availability (e.g. R-22) will be felt over the next eight years. By Jan. 1, 2010, 65% of the current annual Canadian supply of HCFC refrigerants will be eliminated from the marketplace and R-22 equipment will not be manufactured or imported. Awareness of the phase-out schedule and available alternatives will become more important as the decade progresses and contractors, equipment specifiers and equipment owners consider replacement and servicing of new and existing refrigeration and air conditioning equipment.

Equipment Owners (including Homeowners)
Equipment owners today are mostly unaware of the HCFC phase-out and its implications. The lifecycle of HCFC refrigeration and air conditioning equipment can be as little as 10 years and as long as 30 years depending on the type of equipment. Residential central air conditioning units last between 10 and 15 years. Supermarket refrigeration equipment has a typical life span of approximately 15 years. Large air conditioning units (chillers) can last as long as 30 years. Equipment owners need to start considering the potential impact of the HCFC phase-out when considering new equipment and retrofits of existing equipment with their service contractor or equipment specifier.

Owners of HCFC equipment or those customers who are contemplating purchases of new refrigeration and air conditioning equipment need to make themselves aware of the issues surrounding HCFC refrigerants. The best source for this information should be a refrigeration and air conditioning contractor or equipment specifier, who can provide this information and assist owners in choosing the proper equipment or refrigerant to meet their needs.

Commercial and industrial owners should invest time in reviewing their current stock of refrigeration and air conditioning equipment. Once this is completed, they should discuss with a contractor or equipment specifier both short and long term plans for their equipment needs and the effects the HCFC phase-out will have on these needs.

HCFC phase-out considerations when planning for replacement or retrofit of HCFC equipment should include:

  1. Difficulties in servicing and maintaining existing HCFC equipment in the long term;
  2. The declining availability of HCFC refrigerants;
  3. Adequate lifecycle timeframes for new equipment (i.e. return on investment);
  4. Determining the remaining lifecycle of old equipment; and
  5. Understanding alternative equipment, refrigerant options and compatibility of refrigerants and equipment.

A key partner in these considerations should be the refrigeration and air conditioning contractor and equipment specifier. Contact a qualified HVACR contractor or equipment specifier for additional information.

Wholesalers
To service contractor customer needs, wholesaler staff should be aware of and understand the HCFC phase-out schedule, current alternatives and options for replacement of HCFC refrigerants and equipment, and keep up-to-date on the changing situation concerning HCFC alternatives. This information should be available both verbally from sales and counter staff, and through communications pieces (brochures, posters, etc.) available at wholesaler counters.

Contractors and Equipment Specifiers
Contractors and equipment specifiers need to fully understand issues surrounding the HCFC phase-out schedule and ensure these issues are explained to their customers when equipment decisions concerning HCFC equipment are being made.

To provide the appropriate service to the equipment owner, contractors and equipment specifiers should invest time in understanding the impacts of the HCFC phase-out schedule, current alternatives and options for replacement of HCFC refrigerants and equipment and keep up-to-date on the changing situation concerning HCFC alternatives. Contractors and equipment specifiers must also invest time to educate their technicians and sales staff to ensure they have accurate and timely information to share with their customers.

By being aware of the timetable and implications of the HCFC phase-out, contractors, equipment specifiers and their sales and technical staff will be able to provide reliable information to their customers from reputable sources such as HRAI, and assist them with short- and long-term equipment and refrigerant solutions as well as the best options for their applications.