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R22 – still a sizeable business opportunity

There’s a straightforward £200 million opportunity waiting for contractors, according to HRP group sales director Ralph Alliston.

There’s a straightforward £200 million opportunity waiting for contractors, according to HRP group sales director Ralph Alliston.

Estimates of the number of systems still using R22 in the UK vary from 100,000 to 200,000 (or even more) depending on who you listen to.  While much of any regulatory requirement is seen as a necessary chore, the final ban on any use of the refrigerant  represents a useful short term opportunity for contractors.

How the continuous publicity over many years has left us with this gap is something of a mystery. However, in austere times the majority of businesses have been avoiding any expenditure that they might think unnecessary.  Now, as confidence returns there are upwards of 100,000 businesses urgently needing to talk to a contractor.

The threat is easily explained.  After the end of 2014, it will be pretty much impossible for systems using R22 to be maintained.  The choices are apparently simple, a drop-in replacement gas, system modification or replacement. However the choice cannot be made without expert advice – which is a good driver for the opportunity. It is a choice that should be made as early as possible because there will certainly be some last minute panics at the end of the year.

Bearing in mind that an R22 system must be at least ten years old, selling a replacement system or a serious upgrade is a distinct possibility. The industry can now offer much greater energy efficiency, improved performance and greater reliability.

Replacing 100,000 systems is a substantial opportunity – upwards of £200 million – with a compelling deadline. For the reluctant customer, there’s a discussion to be had about replacement refrigerants and required modifications.

HRP works closely with BOC to deliver a complete service in refrigerant gases.  Good advice will be found at BOC’s specialist website on this subject at  It presents in some depth the alternative strategies, including drop-in replacements such as R442A (RS50).

Although RS50 is being launched as a replacement for R404A, it can also be used as a direct replacement for R22 in medium and low temperature refrigeration applications.

When replacing or upgrading, thought must be given to pending EU F-Gas legislation, aimed at reducing the use of substances with high Global Warming Potential. It will make sense to follow the progress of planned regulations and the latest expert advice to guide customers in their investment decisions.

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