If you do not know much about R22 and you have an air conditioner that is 5 to 10 years old, you should definitely read this article. Refrigerant serves the purpose of causing the air that comes out of your AC system to remain cool, which makes it undoubtedly one of the most important components of running the entire system. The majority of the air-conditioning units that are more than 10-years old use the common air-conditioning refrigerant known as R22. This a refrigerant that has been used since the 1950s, which quickly became the main AC refrigerant for the residential cooling and heating industry.
30 years later (1980s), the world started to discover that R22 refrigerants were contributing towards depleting the Earth’s ozone layer. For this reason, the U.S EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) along with assistance from other organizations and agencies from across the globe began the task of phasing-out a variety of ozone-depleting agents which included R22 refrigerant.
At the beginning of 2010 the import and creation of R22 was supposed to be banned. The loophole came in that any existing equipment would be the exception. This resulted in the discontinuation of import and production, but R22 was still on sale and in use until the beginning of 2015. The plan for 2020, is that R22 will essentially be no longer applied in the U.S.
Below is a brief summary of what this will mean for you if you have an air-conditioning system that still uses R22:
- R22 is already no longer in production in North America
- You can still buy recycled R22 for the purpose of servicing existing cooling and heating systems which still use this specific air-conditioner refrigerant
- The charges for R22 has increased exponentially due to the supply that is now heavily restricted, and will not be available any longer for use by 2020
What Will This Mean For You And Your AC System?
If you own HVAC equipment which was manufactured after 2010, you will more than likely not be affected by EPA refrigerant regulations and rules. But if you own a cooling and heating system which was manufactured before 2010, and especially if you own a system that is already 10-years or older, there are a few options for you to consider:
- Invest in an upgraded and environmentally-friendly system that uses an air-conditioner refrigerant that has been approved by the EPA.
- Upgrade the parts in your existing air-conditioning system so that it becomes compatible with one of the approved air-conditioning refrigerants. This option is not recommended by the HVAC experts as it will more than likely void any warranties that you have on your system.
- Continue using recycled R22 until the year 2020.
The suggested and more straightforward option would be to buy a new and upgraded AC system, especially when your existing AC system is 10 years or older. Even though making such an investment might not be in your budget, there are a number of AC companies that will offer financing options that can assist you in making your purchase more affordable. Keep in mind that an upgraded system will be a lot more efficient which will provide you home with more comfort and assist in lowering your current utility bills.
If you decide to upgrade the parts in your current AC system, the prices will vary and keep in mind that this is not a permanent solution. There are cooling and heating experts that have experience in retrofitting these systems which allows for a way to switch to an air-conditioner refrigerant that is approved. This upgrade involves far more that only flushing out your equipment and then adding the new refrigerant, it will also necessitate replacing the existing parts with compatible parts.
Your original manufacturer will in most cases not cover the new parts that are required for these changes and retrofitting an air-conditioner will void your warranty. This solution is also not a long-term solution and will more than likely buy you a few more years to use your current AC system. It is regarded as a “temporary fix” and may be more affordable than investing in an upgraded system. However, making the choice to invest in a new air-conditioner benefits the majority of homeowners when it comes to fulfilment, maintainability, along with long-term comfort.
Your last choice is to keep your current air-conditioner and carry on using recycled r22 refrigerant wiki until it is phased out by 2020. This might seem like your best option for now, but you could be faced with a number of issues. Costs involved in servicing the older R22 AC Systems is now more than several hundred-dollars which practically translates into your down-payment for a new system. The prices are predicted to keep climbing as the demand is rising for a substance which is no longer in production or available widely.
The Future Of Refrigerants
The newer refrigerants have actually been around since the 1990s. One of the newer coolants which is rated as safer for our environment is called R410A. As of now, it might still cost more than R22 as it is still not widely available or used, but these prices will come down as R22 is phased out completely. When the demand and supply for R410A evens out, so will the costs. R410A is also associated with an additional benefit other than being a better option for our environment. It is starting to become evident that equipment and appliances that are already using this coolant experience less vibrations. This reduction in vibrations means that the equipment and appliances will break down less.
Getting your business or home “up to code” in association to the R22 Freon ban may seem complicated, yet the EPA has implemented a really long time-line when it came to this implementation. When you gain an understanding about the Freon laws and regulations and your appliances and how it will affect your business or home, you can then move forward to a change that will match up to your needs.