Most people are not aware of the changes in EU law regarding the refrigerants used in air conditioning systems, so if you have air conditioning, this is important.
In accordance with EU Regulation (EC) 2037/2000, as of the 31st December 2009, the purchase, use, or storage of virgin refrigerant R22 is not allowed. This is because R22 is an ozone depleting gas. The same thing applies to refrigerant blends using R22, such as R403B (69L), R408A (FX10) and R409A (FX56).
You can still own and operate a system that uses R22 but if you need to add R22 to your system (because you have a leak), you can now only buy reclaimed or recycled R22. However, not only is it increasingly difficult and expensive to get hold of R22 in this manner, it can only be acquired through a properly authorised business like Oasis.
I suspect most AC owners don’t know which refrigerant they have in their system. It is normally stated on the outdoor unit but often that can be difficult for AC owners to access (if it’s high up on a wall or on the roof for example). You may need to contact the manufacturer directly or contact a company like Oasis if you need assistance.
If you do have a system using R22, then there is no need to panic. In the short term, R22 is still available (as explained above) and in the long term, you might be able to continue using your system without a problem for years. If / when that problem arises, that might be the time to convert your system with either ‘Retrofit’ / ‘Drop in’ refrigerants, or indeed, renew your system all together.
That said, if you have a business that’s dependent on fully functional air conditioning, then it might be something you want to address sooner rather than later. If you needed to get hold of R22 further down the line, and it had become phased out completely, you could be without air conditioning all together for a few days/weeks whilst you either convert the system or get a new one installed.
Another important aspect to take into consideration is that some of the AC manufacturers are beginning to stock less spare parts for R22 systems, knowing that they are being phased out.
To summarise, those that have R22 systems will have to do something at some point and it’s much better to be properly informed before taking any action.