R-22 Refrigerant is Being Phased Out – Are You Ready?
The refrigerant used in most cooling systems in the United States up until recently, known commonly as “R-22″, will soon be completely eliminated from production. We hope this article will help you educate yourself as to the basic details of this phase out, how it might impact your cooling system at home, and how you can prepare.
Timing of the R-22 Phaseout
As of January 1, 2020, R-22 will no longer be available for cooling systems nationwide. However, that doesn’t mean that R-22 will literally disappear as of that date, as a large number of home cooling systems produced prior to 2010 will still have R-22.
Why Is R-22 Going Away?
R-22 is in the chemical class called hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or “HCFC’s,” most of which are used as refrigerants for cooling systems. These HCFC’s deplete the protective O-Zone layer around Earth, and contribute to climate change. The Environmental Protection Agency studied R-22 years ago, thereby implementing a gradual elimination of production and then usage, which culminates this coming January.The reason for the long phase out process was to allow residents and businesses sufficient time to make a decision about how they would replace their existing cooling systems. Even though the R-22 refrigerant itself will become “extinct” (meaning no longer in production) as of 2020, you can still have your cooling system serviced if it contains R-22. Since no new R-22 will be manufactured, however, the cost of new R-22 is already sky high.
How To Proceed If Your System Utilizes R-22
When was your air conditioning unit manufactured and installed? Most air-conditioners installed prior to 2010 used R-22, so if you fall into that category you may already know about R-22 and the phase out. Production of R-22 has been steadily decreasing since 2013 in accordance with EPA-mandated schedules, so that as of January 1, 2020, there will be no new R-22 manufactured at all in this country.If you have a relatively new air conditioner (manufactured after the year 2010), this phaseout should have no bearing on you. On the other hand, if your cooling system was manufactured or installed prior to 2010, you’ll should prepare to consider options in the very near future.Most likely, you will want to consider replacing your air conditioning system, as an R-22 injection into your system will be very cost prohibitive…and is only a part time solution. Think about your system like a tire: if you have a leak now and put more air into the tire, you still have a leak. At some point, you need a new tire…especially if the cost of air skyrockets!Keep in mind that retrofitting your existing system may nullify the warranty on your air conditioner, and it may be costly enough that it’s not worth your while on that older system, compared with simply purchasing new equipment. Your last option will be to continue to use your existing system with the old refrigerant, until your air conditioner literally dies on you, at which point you would then have to replace it.
Contact Chad Love Services With Any Questions on R-22
We hope you found this article helpful. R-22 is soon to be a thing of the past, which is great for the environment but might cause you some short term pain as you evaluate your options. Give us a call, our expert HVAC contractors can answer any questions about R-22 or anything else related to heating, cooling or duct cleaning, or contact us online.