What is R22 Refrigerant?
R22 Refrigerant is a chemical that’s important in keeping the air coming from your AC unit cool; well, at least for all AC systems installed before 2010. R22, also known as R22 Freon, has been used in the heating and cooling industry for decades but has been found to have aided in causing irreparable damage to the ozone layer. Because of this, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with other agencies and groups around the world, have mandated the phase-out of ozone-depleting substances.
Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, it will be illegal to manufacture or import R22 Refrigerant.
How the R22 Phase-Out Affects You
You may be wondering what the R22 Phase-Out means to you, or to your wallet. If your AC was installed before 2010, there’s a good chance your system uses R22 Refrigerant. After the first of the year, AC systems that use R22 Refrigerant will become obsolete.
If your AC unit has constant leaks and requires a routine recharge of R22 Freon, then you’ll be better off just purchasing a new unit. With supply of this refrigerant dwindling, the cost of the product will rise; supply and demand. It would be cheaper, in the long run, to just replace your HVAC system, than to have it charged routinely with R22 Refrigerant.
The fact is that most of the service calls involve repairs and maintenance that do require a recharge. As an HVAC system ages, it needs a periodic injection of new refrigerants.
You can, of course, get as much usefulness out of your R22 system as possible until the last of the supplies run out. However, this could mean you’re faced with an emergency HVAC system replacement the next time your HVAC equipment breaks down and needs to be recharged with R22. This is much more expensive than planning now for an air conditioning replacement!
R22 HVAC System Conversions
One possible course of action is to get a conversion for your R22 HVAC system to get a few more years of life out of the equipment. The process would involve converting the equipment to use a different refrigerant.
A conversion to a different refrigerant doesn’t always make sense financially, especially if the unit is already aging and needing more regular repairs or is already near the end of its service life. Also, it’s not always technically feasible to retrofit an R22 air conditioner. The first step is to contact an expert to set up an inspection to see if it is a possibility for you.