Under the terms of the Montreal Protocol, the United States agreed to meet certain obligations by specific dates. That will affect the residential heat pump and air-conditioning industry.

January 1, 2004
In accordance with the terms of the Protocol, the amount of all the HCFCs that can be produced nationwide must be reduced by 35 percent by 2004.

In order to achieve this goal, the United States has ceased production of HCFC-141 b, the most ozone damaging of this class of chemicals, on January 1, 2003. this production ban should greatly reduce nationwide me of HCFCs as a group and make it likely that the 2004 deadline will have a minimal effect on R-22 supplies.

January 1, 2010
After 2010, chemical manufacturers may still produce R-22. But this is to service existing equipment and not for use in new equipment.

As a result, heating, ventilation and air-conditioning (HVAC) system manufacturers will only be able to use preexisting supplies of R-22 in the production of new air conditioners and heat pumps.

These existing supplies will include R-22 recovered from existing equipment and recycled by licensed reclaimers.

January 1, 2020
Use of existing refrigerant, including refrigerant that has been recovered and recycled, will be allowed beyond 2020 to service existing systems.

However, chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce R-22 to service existing air conditioners and heat pumps.

What does the R-22 phase out mean for consumers? The following paragraphs are an attempt to answer this question.

The Clean Air Act does not allow any refrigerant to be vented into the atmosphere during installation, service, or retirement of equipment. Therefore, R-22 must be:

• Recovered and recycled (for reuse in the same system)
• Reclaimed (reprocessed to the same purity levels as new R-22)
• Destroyed

After 2020, the servicing of R-22-based systems will rely on recycled refrigerants. It is expected that reclamation and recycling will ensure that existing supplies of R-22 will last longer and be available to service a greater number of systems.

As noted earlier, chemical manufacturers will be able to produce R-22 for use in new air-conditioning equipment until 2010, and they can continue production of R-22 until 20,20 for use in servicing that equipment.
Given this schedule, the transition away from R-22 to the use of ozone-friendly refrigerants should be smooth. For the next 20 years or more, R-22 should continue to be available for all systems that require R-22 for servicing.

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