R22 Phaseout Is Happening Fast! Now What?

R22 Gas Is Widely Used For Commercial Refrigeration. R22 Phaseout Is In Full Swing As Mandated By The EPA. Here Are Some Viable Options In Dealing With The Phaseout.

R22 Phaseout has been in the works for years. This gas was put on the EPA‘s hit list with the creation of the Montreal Protocol to protect the Ozone Layer. When released into the atmosphere, R22 is far more harmful to the environment than newer types of refrigerant.

I’ve written this post with equipment owners in mind: We will skip the specific details of R22 Phaseout and instead offer end users like Restaurants, Bars, Hotels, Florists & Liquor Stores options to prepare for what’s ahead. R22 is over, it’s time to move on instead of beating a dead horse. We know for a fact that there is way too much R22 Commercial Refrigeration equipment still being used in Chicago & Lake County, Illinois. The price of R22 is already skyrocketing, so the time to think about options is NOW!

  • Do not let a HVAC or Refrigeration Contractor sell you new R22 equipment. It’s still out there. They may be offering a good deal, but why buy obsolete equipment?
  • If an existing R22 system has a major leak & loses all the refrigerant it creates the perfect opportunity to retrofit the system to a replacement gas like MO99. If a contractor states that a R22 system is “warm due to losing the charge” ask for a quote to retrofit the system to a replacement gas! We recommend MO99 gas because it is compatible with any oil in the system & runs at a lower head pressure. Changing to MO99 gas will actually make the system run more efficiently due to the lower head pressure. That means you save money on electricity!
  • If your R22 refrigeration compressor fails, don’t replace it with a new R22 compressor. Instead, get a quote for a compressor that is set up for a newer style gas such as R404A. As long as your system metering device is a TXV you should be able to have a contractor change the metering device in the evaporator coil to match the new style gas. Often the only thing needed to retrofit a system is a new compressor & a new metering device.
  • If your R22 system is over 8 years old & requires a major repair consider upgrading to all new energy efficient & ozone-friendly equipment!

Northeast Cooling LLC has specialized in energy efficient refrigeration & refrigerant retrofit in the Chicago area for over 20 years. Please contact us with any questions at 847.409.3332 or drop us an email info@northeastcooling.com.

Please leave any thoughts on this blog post or any refrigeration topics in the comment section below!


Round Lake Refrigeration

Northeast Cooling is a commercial refrigeration company based in Round Lake Illinois. We specialize in the service & repair of coolers, freezers & ice machines. We do one thing & we do it well! We cater to C Stores, Service Stations, Restaurants, Bars, Hotels, Scientific Labs & more. Read more

Outdoor Refrigeration Units & Extreme Cold Weather

Compressor & TruckAn epic battle will be happening across Chicago. Outdoor Refrigeration Units will be fighting the elements to maintain proper temperature.

A Polar Vortex is making it’s way towards Chicago. We will experience some of the coldest weather in decades. Predicted temperatures for Monday are -12F & -40F windchill. Countless refrigeration systems will fail to maintain proper temperature. Most of these affected systems will have the compressor unit located outside. Outdoor commercial refrigeration condenser units located in regions that experience cold Winters must have low ambient operation controls. Units not designed to run in cold weather will not maintain proper temperature in the conditioned space when it gets cold out. The following are some of the different types of components that are needed to help a refrigeration unit run in cold weather.

Cold Weather Accessories & Controls

  • Condenser Bypass Valve
  • Condenser Fan Cycling Control
  • Compressor Crank Case Heater
  • Adjustable Low Pressure Control

The condenser bypass valve is used to used divert refrigerant from the condenser coil & instead pipe it right into the liquid line to maintain sufficient head pressure. This low ambient control works in any weather condition including subzero windy weather. This is the best cold weather control for your commercial refrigeration unit.

The condenser fan cycling control is used to cycle outdoor condenser fan motor on & off to try & maintain system head pressure. This method may not work well in extreme cold & windy conditions. This is especially true when the condenser coil has been installed facing West. Often wind travels West to East & can over cool the condenser even with the fan cycled off. This mostly happens on extremely cold & windy days. This is why we do not believe that a condenser fan cycling control is a good choice. There may be several days a year where a cooler or freezer will not operate correctly with a condenser fan cycling control.

The compressor crank case heater is used to prevent liquid refrigerant from migrating into compressor. The heater is energized all the time & keeps the compressor warm. This protects the compressor from liquid migration & liquid slugging.

All outdoor condensing units should have an adjustable low pressure control. Some units come with OEM nonadjustable low pressure controls that have a settings too high for cold ambient conditions. This may cause compressor to sit idle & not cool the space to be conditioned when it gets cold out. We recommend a standard pump down setting for all outdoor compressor units. The standard pump down setting is 20# low side compressor on & 0# low side compressor off.

Owners of commercial refrigeration systems in Chicago should keep a close eye on temperature & cycling during the extreme weather created by the Polar Vortex. If temperatures become erratic & warm up during the cold snap, chances are there is a problem with winter operation.

Please feel free to comment on this post or ask questions below. We are here for commercial refrigeration repair service during this weather & as always we are available 24/7/365.


More information is available in the following posts.

How cold weather affects outdoor refrigeration units.

Avoid Refrigeration Break Downs During Chicago Blizzard Weather


Green Refrigeration: Cool Vap Evaporator Coils

Cool Vap Evaproator Coil
Mike Reihl from Reihl Efficient LLC & Mitch Byrne from Power Technology Chicago Inc at the Reihl Efficient Factory with a Cool Vap Evaporator Coil.


Reihl Efficient LLC has a great new Green Refrigeration product on the market. The Cool Vap Evaporator Coil for Walk In Coolers is a major advance in Commercial Refrigeration technology.

I recently went on a tour of the Reihl Efficient factory in Michigan. The folks at Reihl Efficient have figured out how to maintain & even decrease the box temperature of Walk In Coolers during the compressor off cycle. This has huge energy saving potential. Cool Vap coils in my opinion are a breakthrough in Green Refrigeration! I was very impressed by the facility & the high quality of the Cool Vap evaporator coil assemblies. All models come standard with high efficiency electronically commutated evaporator motors.  The panels & coil housing are several times thicker than other coil brands & the coil should be more durable due to it’s configuration.

Mike Reihl has come up with a fantastic idea on how to tap into thermal inertia during a refrigeration off cycle to maintain & even lower box temperature. Cool Vap coils have a custom built chamber that rests on top of the evaporator coil. This chamber is filled with a proprietary mass. This mass builds & stores cold energy during the compressor run cycle. During the refrigeration off cycle this cold energy can be released back into the box by cycling the evaporator fan while leaving the compressor off! The Walk In Cooler is able to maintain or drop temperature without running the compressor. Cool Vap Coils take Green Refrigeration to the next level! Independent studies have been conducted. One showed an electrical savings of 37% & the other showed savings of 72%! Cool Vap Energy Efficiency study, coil sizes & specifications available on manufacturers website.

The manufacturer is so confident in the performance of their Cool Vap coil that they are offering a Performance Guarantee Agreement! They guarantee at least a 35% reduction in the electrical expense associated with running a walk in cooler or they will compensate the difference for the equivalence of two years!

Cool Vap coils come standard with 1 or 2 EC (electronically commutated) high efficiency evaporator motors. The coils range in size from 7,000 – 17,000 BTU’s. Interested in learning more or purchasing Cool Vap evaporator coils? Power Technology Chicago Inc is a Reihl Efficient Cool Vap Coil Distributor.

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