The Phase-out of R22 refrigerant is something that should concern anyone that has an older air conditioning system that uses R22 Freon. For years one of the most common refrigerants for your home’s AC system was R22. At one point, R22 was by far the most widely used refrigerant, also commonly referred to as Freon.
For the USA to become more environmentally friendly, the EPA has issued dates to phase out chemicals that are harmful to the environment. As of January 1, 2020, companies can no longer manufacture or import R22 in the United States. Companies that still have a stockpile of R22 can legally even sell it, but as stock levels become limited, the cost for R22 skyrockets. Refrigerant pricing goes by cost and supply and demand.
How Does This Affect Older Air Conditioners?
When your older air conditioner that has R22 refrigerant breaks or leaks, you may have to get a completely new unit. Most people think that refrigerants are interchangeable, but this isn’t the case. Each refrigerant is meant to operate at its pressure level. When you use a refrigerant that isn’t meant for that specific unit, it causes damage to the air conditioner and will also void any warranty you may have left.
Can Older Units Be Retrofitted?
Yes and No. When you retrofit the system, you are still voiding any warranty that may be left as well as going against the manufactures suggestions. If the unit is old enough that it takes R22, then there may be other problems that come with the age of the unit. It is similar to changing a car from unleaded to diesel in the fact that most of the vehicle will still be old and prone to parts breaking. Plus, the amount of work to retrofit a system is considerable. Most people would be better off having a new HVAC system installed.
How Do I Know If My System Takes R22?
If you are not sure about the type of refrigerant, your HVAC system takes, you can call an HVAC company, and they can come out and tell you about your unit. At this point, there are many different types of refrigerants on the market, so your system may use one of them. It is a good idea to have your HVAC system checked up at least twice per year. There are many moving parts, and it is critical to have a proper check-up to keep your order efficient.
What If My Air Conditioning Breaks?
If you are experiencing problems with your system and you need an air conditioning repair call your local repair company. If your system uses R22, they can provide you with the best options for either repair or replacement. Depending on the size of your house, a new air conditioning system may be cheaper than you think. Some companies are even offering specials for customers that have R22 and need a new system.
Unfortunately, R22 has been phasing out, and many homeowners will be in for a shock when their air conditioner breaks. It is best to be well informed and find companies that can offer discounts on new systems. Most HVAC companies will provide free quotes for new HVAC systems, so it won’t cost you anything to find out how much a replacement unit might cost.
Another good tip is to chop around and get several price quotes and a feel for the company doing to work. Price should never be your primary factor, and you should feel comfortable with the company and check their online reviews.
Author Bio: Billy Henley is the Co-owner of BHI Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning with two locations in the Inland Empire. He has been involved in the HVAC industry for more than twelve years now.