If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, then the discontinuation of R22 refrigerant may be important for you. R22 refrigerant is a chemical that keeps the air circulating from your air conditioning system cool. Most air conditioning units older than 10 years utilize an AC refrigerant called R22 that’s commonly identified as Freon, which has been in common use since the 1950’s. Unfortunately, it is also a chemical that depletes the ozone layer.
The United States Environmental Protection Agency, in cooperation with other agencies and groups around the world, initiated a phase out of many ozone-depleting agents, including R22, as part of an international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol.
In 2003, the phase out of R22 production and imports began. By early 2010 the production and import of R22 became prohibited. However, servicing current, existing equipment is still acceptable if there is an available supply of R22. To confirm the public’s compliance with the new law, all sales of R22 must be purchased by a certified technician. The production and import of R22 will be continually reduced by law until 2020, when all production and import will be eliminated. Only recycled R22 refrigerant will be available to service existing air conditioners after 2020, just months from now.
Older air conditioners could more frequently experience leaks and need repairs. Any air conditioners that are older than 2010 are more likely to use R22, which means there’s a lot more demand for it, and a reduced supply. The price of R22 has already risen due to scarcity. Also, there are some strict regulations now on how refrigerant should be reclaimed and recycled, which raises the price. This fee is passed on to the homeowner as companies are forced to cover the increased overhead associated with repairs. There are requirements for importing, labeling, record keeping, reporting, destruction and reclaiming of R22 from existing systems.
This is why when our technicians come out to inspect your older unit, we check to see what refrigerant your unit uses, and in the majority of the cases, we’ll recommend an upgrade to a newer unit due to the increasing cost of maintaining an R22 air conditioner.
You can find the type of refrigerant your system runs on by looking at the appliance’s nameplate. This nameplate is typically found on the outdoor condenser of your central air conditioning system. If you can’t find it, check your user’s manual, or you can reach out to us at Denco Heating and AC. If you have a maintenance agreement with us, we also have your information on hand and a tech can let you know immediately if your unit uses R22.
What should you do if your unit uses R22?
The most straightforward option is to buy a new, upgraded air conditioner, especially if your current air conditioner is already more than 10 years old. Denco Heating and AC has many options that help make the purchase affordable, and we also look out for rebates from HVAC manufacturers to make it easier on you. New AC equipment can be more efficient and give you superior comfort, helping to lower your energy costs. Even better, this upgrade helps protect the ozone layer in the Earth’s atmosphere, which helps block radiation from the sun and preserves life on our precious planet.