Friday, November 7, 2014

EPA Announces R-22 Allocations for 2015 - 2020

The EPA has released their R-22 allocations for 2015 – 2020, and it looks like the days of free-flowing R-22 are about to come to an abrupt end. To put things in perspective, the R-22 allocation for this current year, 2014, was 51 million pounds. The allocation for 2015, coming up in a few months, is 22 million pounds. That is just over 43% of the 2014 allocation. From there the cutbacks are more gradual with a reduction of approximately 4 million pounds each year until 2020 when the allocation is 0. Trying to figure out R-22 prices has been a bit difficult these last few years. They have spiked twice but then gone back down as supply increased. This time look for the high prices to last  because there will be no turning the tap back on this time. The main question remaining is how long demand for R-22 will continue. Although there is still a very large installed base of R-22 air conditioning equipment, it is starting to get old. As older equipment fails and supplies tighten, it will be increasingly difficult financially to keep an older R-22 system operating. I remember with R-12 and other CFCs, prices climbed high enough to kill demand. A local wholesaler took a bath on a large quantity of 502 just to get rid of it because nobody wanted it at the “market” price. Consider that a dry ship unit costs about the same as a 410A builder grade, but you still have to buy the refrigerant. It is conceivable that a dry ship unit charged with R-22 at inflated prices would be as expensive as replacing both the condenser and evaporator with a builder grade 410A system. Who would want to keep their old system if it costs as much as a system with current technology, higher efficiency, and a refrigerant that is still available? To read more about the EPA's ruling, check out

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