2010 HCFC Phaseout

EPA Issues Refrigerant Rules
The Environmental Protection Agency issued its long-awaited rules governing the availability and use of virgin HCFCs in 2010 and beyond.  The new rules go into effect January 1, 2010, as specified by the Montreal Protocol, to which the United States is a signatory.
 
Based on the information furnished in summary by the EPA, however, it appears that most of the concerns AHRI expressed during the rulemaking process have been addressed to our satisfaction.  For example, the rule does allow the sale and distribution of stockpiled inventory charged with virgin R-22 that was manufactured prior to January 1, 2010, and does not specify a date by which such inventory must be sold.  It further allows the sale and distribution of pre-charged components, provided they also were manufactured prior to the January 1, 2010 cutoff.  In addition, the rule allows R-22 produced prior to January 1, 2010 to be used until January 1, 2015, for the manufacture of thermostatic expansion valves (TXVs) and medical equipment.  Unfortunately, the pre-charge rule does not allow charging with virgin R-22 after the cutoff date for equipment intended solely for export.
 
The full text of the HCFC Allocation Rule is available here. The Pre-Charged Appliances Rule is available here.


Explanatory language from EPA's Web site about the two rules
and how the rules would work together

  • "Appliance" means any device which contains and uses a refrigerant and which is used for household or commercial purposes, including any air-conditioner, refrigerator, chiller, or freezer. Components such as condensing units, line sets, and thermostatic expansion valves are not considered "appliances."
  • "Manufactured prior to January 1, 2010" for an appliance, means the date upon which the appliance's refrigerant circuit is complete, the appliance can function, the appliance holds a full refrigerant charge, and the appliance is ready for use for its intended purposes. For a pre-charged appliance component, this means the date that such component is completely produced by the original equipment manufacturer, charged with refrigerant, and is ready for initial sale or distribution in interstate commerce.
  • "Interstate commerce" means the product's entire distribution chain up to and including the point of sale to the ultimate consumer. It includes the sale or distribution of imported products within the United States, as well as the sale or distribution of products intended for export. Starting January 1, 2010, the two rules will have the following effects on the sale, distribution, and installation of air-conditioning and refrigeration products charged with HCFC-22, HCFC-142b, or blends containing one or both of these substances:
  • Sale and distribution of appliances pre-charged with HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b is allowed for self-contained, factory-charged appliances such as pre-charged window units, packaged terminal air-conditioners (PTACs), and some commercial refrigeration units, if manufactured before January 1, 2010. The pre-charged appliance rule does not prohibit sale and distribution of pre-2010 inventory (i.e., stockpiled inventories).
  • Sale and distribution of appliances pre-charged with HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b is not allowed for self-contained, factory-charged appliances such as pre-charged window units, packaged terminal air conditioners (PTACs), and some commercial refrigeration units, if manufactured on or after January 1, 2010. This prohibition, which is contained in the pre-charged appliance rule, applies regardless of when the refrigerant was produced and whether it is virgin or reclaimed. Under the allocation rule, neither stockpiled HCFC-22 produced prior to January 1, 2010, nor new HCFC-22 produced after that date can be used to manufacture new appliances on or after January 1, 2010.
  • Sale and distribution of appliance components pre-charged with HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b is allowed if the components (e.g. condensing units, line sets, and coils that are charged with refrigerant) were manufactured before January 1, 2010. The pre-charged appliance rule does not prohibit sale and distribution of pre-2010 inventory (i.e., stockpiled inventories).
  • Pre-charged components manufactured before January 1, 2010, may be used to service appliances manufactured before January 1, 2010, but may not be assembled to create new appliances unless there is no use of virgin HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b, in the components or otherwise. The allocation rule prohibits use of virgin HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b in manufacturing new appliances.
  • There is no exemption from the pre-charged appliance rule for the sale or distribution of pre-charged appliances and pre-charged components that are charged with reclaimed HCFC-22 or HCFC-142b refrigerant. In other words, the provisions banning sale and distribution apply equally regardless of whether the appliances or components contain virgin or reclaimed refrigerant.
  • Under the allocation rule, virgin HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b may only be used to service existing appliances. Virgin HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b may not be used to manufacture new pre-charged appliances or appliance components. Virgin HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b also may not be used to charge new appliances assembled onsite on or after January 1, 2010, though new appliances (not pre-charged) may be charged with reclaimed refrigerant.
  • EPA is providing an exception to the allocation rule that allows virgin HCFC-22 to be used in the onsite "manufacture" of appliances for a particular project between January 1, 2010, and December 31, 2011, if the components have been specified for use at that project under a building permit or contract dated before January 1, 2010.
  • Under the allocation rule, HCFC-22 produced prior to January 1, 2010, may be used until January 1, 2015, for the manufacture of thermostatic expansion valves (TXVs) and medical equipment.
  • The sale and distribution of used appliances is not affected by either rule.

For additional information on this issue please contact Karim Amrane, AHRI Vice President of Regulatory and Research.