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Phaseout of HCFCs (Class II Ozone-Depleting Substances)

What's New

Final HCFC Allocation Rule for 2015-2019 signed; HCFC-22 production and import phased out in 2020

Overview memo of Final HCFC Allocation Rule 

New fact sheets for ice rinks, supermarkets, residential air conditioning, and industrial process refrigeration available

EPA Publishes Notice of Data Availability in Federal Register

HCFC-22 Aggregate Inventory Data from 2008-2013

EPA Signs Direct Final Rule Prohibiting Trade of HCFCs with Non-parties

Frequently Asked Questions About Repairing or Replacing Your Home Air Conditioner

Class II Substances (HCFCs)

Class II controlled substances are compounds that have an ozone depletion potential (ODP) less than 0.2, and are all hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). HCFCs were developed as transitional substitutes for Class I substances and are subject to a later phaseout schedule than Class I substances.
Listing and ODPs of HCFCs (Class II Substances)

Although there are currently 34 controlled HCFCs, only a few are commonly used. The most widely used have been HCFC-22 (usually a refrigerant), HCFC-141b (a solvent and foam-blowing agent), and HCFC-142b (a foam-blowing agent and component in refrigerant blends). A list of other HCFCs and their uses can be found here.

The Phaseout of HCFCs

As a Party to the Montreal Protocol, the U.S. must incrementally decrease HCFC consumption and production, culminating in a complete HCFC phaseout in 2030. The major milestones that are upcoming for developed countries are a reduction in 2015 to at least 90 percent below baseline HCFC levels and a reduction in 2020 to at least 99.5 percent below baseline.

Section 605 of the Clean Air Act sets the U.S. phaseout targets for Class II substances. In 1993, the EPA established the phaseout framework and the "worst-first" approach that focused first on HCFC-22, HCFC-141b, and HCFC-142b because these three HCFCs have the highest ozone depletıon potentıal of all HCFCs. To meet the required 2004 reduction, the EPA phased out HCFC-141b in 2003 and froze the production and consumption of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b. In 2009, EPA reduced the production and import of virgin HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b and limited the use of those compounds to meet the Montreal Protocol's 2010 milestones. In 2015, the Clean Air Act further limits the use of HCFCs. EPA plans to stop allowing production and import of virgin HCFC-22 by 2020.

The schedule showing how the Montreal Protocol and the U.S. are phasing out HCFCs can be found here.

Implementing the 2010-2014 Phasedown Step

In December 2009, EPA published two rules concerning the 2010 Phasedown Step:

Proposed versions of these rules are also available:

EPA ensures that HCFC consumption in the U.S. is 75% below the U.S. baseline (as required under the Montreal Protocol) by issuing allowances to producers and importers of HCFCs. The "2009 HCFC Allocation Rule" allocated allowances for each year between 2010 and 2014. To meet the stepdown, the number of allowances for HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b were less than for the 2003-2009 control periods. EPA also issued allowances for HCFC-123, HCFC-124, HCFC-225ca, and HCFC-225cb. The rules also limited the use of virgin HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b to existing refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment. The "Pre-Charged Appliances Rule" banned the sale or distribution of air-conditioning and refrigeration products containing HCFC-22, HCFC-142b, or blends containing one or both of these substances, beginning January 1, 2010.

A more detailed fact sheet describing the effect of these two rules on the air-conditioning and refrigeration sector can be found here.

 The "2009 HCFC Allocation Rule" was challenged in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit in Arkema v EPA. In August, 2010, the court decided against EPA. EPA interprets the Court’s decision as vacating the portion of the rule that establishes company-by-company production and consumption baselines and calendar-year allowances for HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b. All other aspects of the rule are intact. On August 5, 2011, EPA issued an interim final rule that established new company-by-company HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b baselines and allocated production and consumption allowances for 2011.

On March 27, 2013, EPA finalized another rule in response to the Arkema decision that provides HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b allowances for 2012-2014.

Demand for HCFC-22 in Existing Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Equipment

HCFC-22 is also referred to as R-22. It is a popular refrigerant that is commonly used in a variety of refrigeration and air-conditioning equipment, including:

Residential Uses Commercial and Industrial Uses
  • Window air-conditioning units
  • Dehumidifiers
  • Central air-conditioners
  • Air-to-air heat pumps
  • Ground-source heat pumps
  • Ductless air-conditioners
  • Chest or upright freezers
  • Packaged air-conditioners and heat pumps
  • Chillers
  • Retail food refrigeration
  • Cold storage warehouses
  • Industrial process refrigeration
  • Transport refrigeration

HCFC-22 is often used as a component in refrigerant blends. Some common end uses for some refrigerant blends that contain HCFC-22 follow:

End Use R-401A R-402A R-409A R-502
Retail Food Refrigeration X X X X
Cold Storage Warehouses X X X
Industrial Process Refrigeration X
Transport Refrigeration X X X

Questions Frequently Asked By:

Other Factsheets:

Brochures for:

EPA has modeled the demand for HCFC-22 for use in existing air-conditioning and refrigeration equipment. EPA has based the allowance levels in part on that estimated demand. Since November 2005 EPA released three draft versions of its Servicing Tail report for public comment. The final and 2008 drafts of the report are below:
2009 Final Report: Projected Servicing Needs in the U.S. Air-Conditioning and Refrigeration Sector (PDF) (48 pp, 964 K)
2008 Draft Servicing Tail Report (51 pp, 332 K)

EPA has received a petition from Carrier Corporation requesting EPA to write a rule banning the sale of uncharged or "dry" residential condensing units for use with R-22. (1.5 MB, 29 pp., About PDF)

Prior Regulations and Federal Register Notices

Accelerated Phaseout of Class II Controlled Substances (1993): This action, among other things, established the phaseout schedule for HCFC-22, HCFC-141b, and HCFC-142b. Specifically, this action banned the production and consumption of HCFC-141b as of January 1, 2003, and limited the production and consumption of HCFC-142b and HCFC-22 between 2010 and 2020 to the servicing of equipment manufactured prior to January 1, 2010.

Allowance System for Controlling HCFC Production, Import, and Export (2003): This action established the HCFC allowance system and allocated allowances for HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b for the 2003-2009 control periods. This action also established the petition process for exemptions to the January 1, 2003, phaseout of HCFC-141b.

Technical Corrections and Minor Amendments to the 2003 Allowance System:

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