Farewell, Freon: What You Should Know About the R22 Phase-Out
While you were celebrating New Year’s and the start of a new decade, it was also the end of an era in the HVAC industry. Starting on January 1, 2020, regulations went into effect that banned R22, commonly known as Freon, from being produced as a refrigerant for air conditioning systems.
Depending on the age of your home’s air conditioning system, the phase-out of R22 could potentially cost you more for an AC repair. Here’s what you need to know.
The History of R22
Air conditioning systems started using R22 back in the 1950s, and it became the most common type of refrigerant for the next few decades. However, it was later discovered that R22 contains chemicals that are very harmful to the ozone layer. So the United States and other countries decided to phase out the use of R22 and replace it with a more environmentally friendly refrigerant.
Beginning in 2003, R22 production was reduced. In 2010, new air conditioning systems were prohibited from using R22. And now the next step of the phase-out started in 2020 when the production and import of new R22 were banned for good. Only recycled R22 refrigerant is now available for repairs, and the supply is very low.
How it Affects Your Home’s Air Conditioning
Even with the new regulations, you don’t have to do anything to your older, existing air conditioning system if it is working properly. But if your AC needs to be serviced or replaced, here’s how the R22 ban can come into play.
- If your existing AC uses R22 and needs a refrigerant recharge (due to a leak or other issue), then the service will be much more expensive because of the low supply of recycled R22 available to HVAC technicians.
- When it’s time to replace your air conditioning, all new systems will use approved refrigerants such as R410a, which can go by the brand name Puron. This refrigerant is more energy-efficient, has a higher safety rating, and is less harmful to the ozone than R22.
Does Your AC Use R22?
To get a good idea of whether your air conditioning uses R22, you’ll need to look up the manufacturing date of the unit. If it was made in 2009 or earlier, then it likely uses R22. However, if it was made after January 1, 2010, it might use a new refrigerant. The refrigerant type should also be listed on the nameplate on the outdoor condenser.
What Should You do If Your Unit Uses R22?
If your air conditioner uses R22 refrigerant, you don’t have to lose sleep. The EPA has said that it is still legal to service and recharge existing systems with recycled R22. However, the price of recycled refrigerant will continue to increase as the supply decreases. So if your system needs a repair, it might be more cost-effective in the long run to replace it with a new, more efficient system that uses a different refrigerant.
You should also check your unit for leaks before the summer starts so that the R22 inside will last you a long time or so it doesn’t escape and contribute to ozone depletion. Even if your system has been working fine, it’s still a good idea to have it inspected by a licensed HVAC technician at least once every year.
The takeaway here is simple: If your air conditioner needs to be serviced, you should get it done right away. And if you need to replace it, consider doing so soon so that you can take advantage of the new replacement units with more efficient and less hazardous forms of refrigerant available. Get informed and make the best decision for your budget, comfort, and safety.
Why do You Need a New AC Installation?
In addition to replacing a unit that uses R22 refrigerant, there are other reasons why you might need a new air conditioning installation. For instance, if your current AC system is more than 10 years old and in need of frequent repairs, it’s probably time to upgrade. This is because modern AC systems use much less energy than their older counterparts and are much more efficient at cooling your home.
Newer units also have better features, such as dehumidifiers that can help to remove moisture from the air and improve indoor air quality. If your current system doesn’t have these features, you might want to consider upgrading to a newer model.
In short, if your AC is using R22 refrigerant and needs to be replaced, or if it’s more than 10 years old, it might be time to consider a new installation. Contact an HVAC expert for advice and assistance with selecting the right model for your home.
In summary, if your air conditioning is using R22 refrigerant, the phase-out shouldn’t be a cause for worry. With a bit of research and some help from an HVAC expert, you can keep your home comfortable without breaking the bank.
Air Conditioning Installation And Repair
Overall, the phase-out of R22 is a good thing for our environment. While some homeowners may be worried about higher costs, it’s really a step forward to safer, higher-efficiency home cooling. If you have any questions about R22 and your older AC unit, contact the team at Liberty Plumbing. We can help you make the smart choice for your home heating and cooling needs. Give us a call today at (951) 228-9312.