Refrigerant Recovery Companies May Solve R-22 Shortage

Monday, March 03, 2008

Wow! What is happening with the cost of R-22? The price has nearly doubled over the past 12 months! If you"™re like me, you most likely remember the days just a few years back when you could purchase it for a little over a $1 per pound.

Several factors are involved with the sudden price increases. Probably the two most important factors are the accelerated phase out schedule and the lack of recovered R-22 coming back into the system. It seems like every time you read a major HVACR publication there is an article on the impending shortage of R-22 after 2010. The argument could be made that if recovery rates had been substantially higher over the past 5 years, the concern regarding a shortage would most likely not exist. It may also be that if 50 percent or more of R-22 is recovered yearly starting today, there may be no shortage. Regardless, the fact is that any amount of R-22 recovered will help offset any shortages. It will be up to contractors and facilities departments to ensure that all air conditioning units, as well as all other refrigerated appliances, get recovered. The more refrigerant in the market place via recovery and reclamation, the larger the supply of R-22. This should also keep R-22 affordable, unlike what happened with R-12. Incidentally, you can still purchase R-12 today thanks to recovery and reclamation efforts.

One approach being utilized by contractors and facility departments alike is outsourcing their refrigerant recovery. They contract with a company that specializes in recovering refrigerant. One such company is Rapid Recovery. With their corporate office located in Arizona, Rapid Recovery has completed work in over 30 states, including Alaska, and is the only refrigerant recovery company with local crews operating on both the East and West coasts. According to Les Rhynard of Rapid Recovery "We save you time in the field and in the office, and the recovered refrigerant is put back into the marketplace." Companies like Rapid Recovery are now offering a credit for R-22 due to the rising cost of certified and packaged refrigerant to the contractor. "We believe our customers should benefit from the increase in the value of R-22." Rhynard said. There are other companies offering credits as well, but there are some differences with Rapid Recovery's approach. Since Rapid Recovery offers the service of actually removing the refrigerant at their customers"™ job-sites or shops, it affords them some advantages over others in the industry. They are able to test the refrigerant and weigh the refrigerant on-site and there are no shipping costs! Rhynard said "Because of our local service, we are able to pay our customer on gross weight recovered." According to most articles being published, the availability of R-22 after 2010 will be scarce. That means paying $5 per pound will seem like "the good ole days" in comparison. Maybe because of local contractor recovery efforts, reclaimers will be able to meet the R-22 demand. Of course, reasonably priced and available R-22 will only be possible if what is already in use is actually recovered. The decision will be made by each company and communicated to each of their technicians and must become a part of how you do business or manage your properties.

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