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  • Writer's pictureSB Building Solutions LLC

What is your service personnel using in your building's R-22 Air Conditioning Systems?

Updated: Dec 30, 2021

As we all know, (HCFC) R-22 was once the standard refrigerant that air conditioning manufacturers used with the systems they built. But in late 2009 early 2010 the air conditioning manufacturers stopped manufacturing equipment that shipped with R-22. A few years before the United States Environmental Protection Agency listed the refrigerant (HCFC) R-22 as a substance that causes damage to the earth’s atmosphere. Laws were passed in the United States to protect the earths atmosphere and the industry begun to phase out the production of R-22. Laws were also passed to stop producing it all together by 2020.

Because the supply of R-22 is dwindling and the demand for the refrigerant at the same time is increasing, it has become an expensive and sometimes hard to acquire product. In response to this problem, a black market has sprung up for the purchase of R-22.

These off-market R-22 based refrigerants, however, are not approved by any regulatory agency and can pose a serious risk to your property and to the people that service your equipment.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency has issued several warnings about one of these refrigerants (R-22a). This refrigerant is an illegally marketed refrigerant used for air conditioning in commercial and residential properties. The refrigerant poses a serious fire hazard and creates a unsafe condition to anyone in the building. The refrigerant uses the name R-22a and some refer to it as just 22a. The refrigerant R-22a is a propane-based refrigerant that can catch fire or explode. The photos in this article are of systems that were charged with R-22a both units exploded and continued burning,

The EPA and the New York City Fire Department prohibits the use of R-22a in all New York City Buildings. Use of this refrigerant in your building is illegal and can resulted in enforcement actions, arrests and fines against those who market, install or sell the refrigerant. Do you know what refrigerant your service provider is using to recharge your old R-22 system? If not, now is a good idea to ask. The United States Environmental Protection Agency has a list of more environmentally friendly alternatives on its website but R-22a isn’t one of them

Stay away from this refrigerant!!

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