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Supermarkets: Frequently Asked Questions

The following information can help supermarket owners and operators reduce emissions of refrigerants that contain ozone-depleting substances (ODSHelpODSA compound that contributes to stratospheric ozone depletion. ODS include chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), halons, methyl bromide, carbon tetrachloride, hydrobromofluorocarbons, chlorobromomethane, and methyl chloroform. ODS are generally very stable in the troposphere and only degrade under intense ultraviolet light in the stratosphere. When they break down, they release chlorine or bromine atoms, which then deplete ozone. A detailed list ( of class I and class II substances with their ODPs, GWPs, and CAS numbers are available.).

Key Resources

GreenChill is an EPA partnership with food retailers to reduce refrigerant emissions and decrease their impact on the ozone layer and climate change. Learn more about GreenChill's mission and goals.

Can Hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-22 be used in my refrigeration system?

EPA does not allow virgin HCFC-22 to be used in refrigeration systems manufactured on or after January 1, 2010. HCFC-22, also known as R-22, is an ozone-depleting substance with a high global warming potentialHelpglobal warming potentialA number that refers to the amount of global warming caused by a substance. The GWP is the ratio of the warming caused by a substance to the warming caused by a similar mass of carbon dioxide. Thus, the GWP of CO2 is defined to be 1.0 . CFC-12 has a GWP of 8,500, while CFC-11 has a GWP of 5,000. Various HCFCs and HFCs have GWPs ranging from 93 to 12,100. Water, a substitute in numerous end-uses, has a GWP of 0. A table of all ozone-depleting substances ( shows their ODPs, GWPs, and CAS numbers, and another table shows the GWPs for many non-ozone-depleting substances ( A refrigeration system is “manufactured” on the date its refrigerant circuit is complete and it can function, holds a refrigerant charge, and is ready for use for its intended purpose.

Can virgin HCFC-22 be used in a newly manufactured refrigeration system being installed in a new store?

No. Commercial refrigeration systems cannot be installed using virgin HCFC-22 on or after January 1, 2010.

Can virgin HCFC-22 be used to service my existing equipment?

Yes, depending on when the system was manufactured. If the system was manufactured before January 1, 2010, virgin HCFC-22 can be used for servicing (normal maintenance and repair). Only recovered or reclaimed HCFC-22 can be used in systems manufactured after January 1, 2010.

For example, virgin HCFC can be used to refill a system manufactured before 2010 due to a component failure or repair to get it back to normal operating condition. EPA does not require replacement of an existing HCFC-22 system or conversion of that system to an alternative refrigerant.

However, EPA is phasing out HCFC-22. Therefore, there will be less virgin HCFC-22 produced and imported each year. Supermarket owners should carefully consider all options when deciding whether to service or replace an existing system.

Can virgin HCFC-22 be used in a system that is expanded after January 1, 2010?

Sometimes. Virgin HCFC-22 may not be used in a system that has become a “newly manufactured” system through an expansion. To make this determination, EPA considers whether an expansion is changing the intended purpose of a system.

EPA has developed a fact sheet with more information on this topic, including specific examples.