What Refrigerants Are Acceptable to Use Now but Not in the Near Future?

October 11, 2017 / by Elizabeth Ortlieb

Elizabeth Ortlieb

Is your supermarket's refrigeration & A/C equipment using refrigerant that will soon be obsolete? 
Do you find yourself wondering: What refrigerants are allowable today but not in the near future, and what are allowable for years to come? 
You're not the only one.
It's a question that many other supermarkets as well as property and facility managers find themselves asking, too. And it's little wonder why:

Refrigerants: Bound with Multi-Sided Controls at the Federal Level

ODS and HFC refrigerants in the United States have been regulated through two primary methods of control, which are
  • supply controls (e.g., EPA's allowance system to phase out CFCs & HCFCs), and, most recently
  • demand controls (e.g., EPA's SNAP Rules 20 & 21 which prohibit certain high-GWP HFCs in some end-uses). 
So, on one hand, you've got HCFCs, like R-22, being phased out under Section 605 of the Clean Air Act (CAA)...
And, on the other hand, you've got high global warming potential (GWP) HFCs, like R-404A, being listed as unacceptable in retail food equipment (as soon as 2018) through EPA's Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP)...
To complicate matters further, another layer of control for refrigerant compliance looks to be on the horizon in the state of California.
California Set to Expand Its Refrigerant Management Requirements? 
With refrigerants already bound to multi-sided controls at the federal level, these new provisions at the state level would make it ever more important to be prepared for refrigerant use changes. 
As we continue to monitor this developing situation here at Trakref, we encourage you to get started, and have a plan in place now to know what refrigerants are acceptable and unacceptable for the near- and long-term.
Caveat Emptor: The Useful Life of an HVAC System â‰  Its Depreciation Period
For example, consider tomorrow you are offered a great deal on a HVAC unit that uses the very popular, refrigerant R-404A. Deal it may, at first appear to be, but not so fast... 
In fact, R-404A was listed as unacceptable in new remote condensing units as of January 1, 2018, which means that this unit would be a bad investment. That is, it's useful life would be shorter than its depreciation period. 
And this is but one example of what could happen if you are unaware of refrigerant acceptability and unacceptability rulings. 
So, where do you start? Try our handy, refrigerant usage reference chart (it's free!): 
Get My Free Chart
No more guesswork: See what's acceptable and unacceptable through 2024!


We're refrigerant compliance management software pros! If you enjoyed this article, you might want to check out our other articles around this topic and more:

New EPA Refrigerant Regulations - 6 Compliance Requirements to Know

HVAC News Roundup - September 2017

Topics: Announcements, HVAC/R, Compliance Reporting, Industry Insights, Refrigerant Compliance, Refrigerant Management

Elizabeth Ortlieb

Written by Elizabeth Ortlieb

With an extensive background in public affairs and communications, Elizabeth serves as the Policy & Content Manager at Trakref, where she tracks HVAC/R policy trends and provides updates to multi-level stakeholders. Email the author at eortlieb@trakref.com