The real misconception in the market is that the government is phasing out all R-22, not just virgin production and importation. The EPA’s ban does not restrict the continued use, buying, or selling of R-22 refrigerant. In reality reclaimed R-22 will most likely sustain the market for 30 or more years as these systems continue to be operated and maintained. But R-22 demand will naturally decline as systems reach their end of life. As those systems are taken out of service, their refrigerant will be reclaimed by a certified reclaimer, such as Hudson, and put back into the pool to help support and service R-22 systems that still exist.
At Hudson Technologies, we test, process, then repackage R-22 into cylinders to resell. The refrigerant goes back into the product stream to maintain the equipment that’s still in use. What we and most chiller, light, commercial, and industrial equipment manufacturers would say is that R-22 remains the best refrigerant to operate R-22 designed systems. It’s the least expensive, most energy-efficient, optimal way to use the refrigerant that the system was designed for.
A lot of building owners see their R-22 refrigerant and systems as a liability or cost, but we would encourage people to see it as a valuable asset.
If a chiller has reached its end of life and needs to be replaced, Hudson buys the refrigerant at market value so clients can offset any upgrade or replacement projects.
Continuing to buy and use R-22 is neither unsafe or against the law. We call it “the R-22 rumor” that you have to replace your system now because it’s illegal. Many people take what is in part true: The EPA did phase R-22 out, but they phased only R-22 production, not general use.
Kate Houghton is vice president of sales and marketing at Hudson Technologies Company.
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