HCFC / R22 phase-out

HCFC refrigerants contribute to climate change through ozone layer depletion

From 1 January 2015 topping up of all HCFC systems will be banned in the United Kingdom.

European legislation, driven by the Montreal Protocol, has established the timely phasing out of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) that contribute to climate change through ozone layer depletion and global warming.


From 2010 to 2015 only reclaimed R22 and R123 can be used in connection with the service. The lack of reclaimed R22 and R123 is likely to be significant, because the amount currently only covers about 10%. Moreover, the F-Gas Regulation has entered into force in Europe, and it places new demands on systems using F-gases i.e.  hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) ,with high global warming potential  such as R404A, R507A, R407C, R410A, R417A, and R422D.


Following the discovery of the Antarctic ozone hole in late 1985, governments recognized the need for stronger measures to reduce the production and consumption of a number of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and subsequently HCFCs. Any equipment that contains HCFC refrigerants is affected, irrespective of their size.


Typically affected equipment includes

  • air-conditioning mini-split units,
  • close control units,
  • air handling units,
  • chillers and large industrial refrigeration plants.

Effect on energy efficiency

  • One of the options open to building owners for compliance is to replace the offending HCFC refrigerant with a legally compliant alternative.
  • However, replacing the refrigerant can have a negative impact on the energy efficiency of the equipment and it’s Coefficient of Performance (COP).
  • Several solutions are possible to avoid a significant increase in your energy costs.
  • In most cases it is more economical to replace the equipment with a new highly energy efficient system that will be cheaper and more efficient to operate in the long run.

Penalties for non-compliance

Whilst legal penalties are still unclear at the moment, in addition to any financial penalties non-compliant building owners will also face:


  • The inability to top-up HCFC refrigerant in your equipment leading to lost efficiency and possible breakdowns
  • A large increase of your energy bill due to the system trying to maintain capacity whilst being less energy efficient
  • Likely increase in the units ability to supply air conditioning or refrigeration giving intermittent supply issues
  • Increased service & maintenance costs
  • These can be critical and this is without counting a possible shortage of qualified service engineers to help you tackle the issues.