EPA Regulations to phase out R22 freon and other ozone depleting substances were established in the early 1990s to reduce the hole in the ozone and protect the environment. Fast forward nearly 25 years and the “phase out” of these hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) is in full force as supplies are dwindling.
Prices for the remaining stock of the most common HCFC used in air conditioning units, R22, are skyrocketing. In fact, many suppliers and distributors no longer have access to inventory, thus have stopped selling R22 all together.
This shortage of R22 supplies and resulting high prices are leaving HVAC technicians in facilities management with a major decision: 1) invest in new air conditioners that use an approved refrigerant or 2) shop for an EPA approved substitute for R22.
Some R22 air conditioning units may be at the end of their useful life and investing in new units for greater efficiency and to meet regulations makes sense. On the other hand, some units may have several more years of life left in them, so using an R22 refrigerant alternative may make more economic sense.
Below are three common alternatives to R22 refrigerant. Please note that this is a suggested guide to substitutes, not a definitive list. **Always consult a trained HVAC professional to determine which R22 alternative is right for your specific equipment and application.
Here are 3 EPA approved R22 substitutes
R427A – This is a great substitute for R22 because it can be used in air conditioners, heat pumps and refrigeration applications. R427A is more efficient than most R22 substitutes, has comparable capacity, and almost identical pressures to R22. This R22 alternative also maintains lower discharge temperates.
NU-22B is successfully being used as an R-22 alternative in because it has an operating pressure closer to R-22, has greater capacity than R-417A, is nontoxic and nonflammable, and doesn’t require unnecessary oil changes. NU-22B is being used in a variety of residential and industrial applications, however should be installed safely by a knowledgeable HVAC equipment specialist.
MO99 (R-438A) freon is a unique HFC refrigerant used as an alternative to R22 that covers a wide range of evaporator temperatures. The similar pressure characteristics to R-22 along with mineral oil, alkyl benzene or POE oil compatibility means that an equipment change is not required. MO99 refrigerant typically has lower retrofit costs verse other HFC/POE replacements.
View the MO99 specifications