R22 is a refrigerant used most commonly for air conditioning systems. It is a short name for the halo carbon compound monoclorodifluoromethane, or CHCIF2. With such a low boiling point, -41.4 degrees Fahrenheit or -40.8 degrees Celsius, R22 was initially developed for low temperature applications such as domestic and farm freezers and in industrial refrigeration applications. As of 2015, it is used extensively for liquefaction of gases such as chlorine and for supplying cold water to various processes and machines.
R22 is non-flammable and is also non-toxic, which makes it very safe for domestic and industrial uses. There are a few advantages of using R22. It is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon and has less of an effect on the ozone layer than chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs. It also requires a lower compressor displacement, 60 percent less than what R12 requires, which means the system using R22 produces 65 percent more refrigeration capacity than the system using R12. That translates into higher refrigeration efficiency and less power usage, which is important in large industrial applications. R22 refrigerant also has greater water absorbing capacity; this means less water in the system, which can have troubling effects on a refrigeration system.
R22 is being phased out because its potential as a potent greenhouse gas and, as of January 2010, no new equipment uses R22. R22 is only available for existing systems, and by the year 2021, all production of R22 will stop. Some alternatives to R22 include R-134a, R-507 and R407c.