If you have an older HVAC system that uses R22 refrigerant, or if you’re not sure what type of refrigerant your system uses, read on. Your system may need an update.
If your air conditioning unit is 10 years old or older, there is a good chance it uses R22 refrigerant. R22 is a common refrigerant for residential and commercial air conditioners since it was introduced in the 1950’s but environmentalists have determined that widespread use of R22 has led to the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer.
This is why the Environmental Protection Agency has initiated a phase-out of ozone-depleting agents like R22 by 2020. All sales of R22 must be done by an EPA-certified technician and the product and import of R22 will be eliminated by January of next year. Only recycled R22 will be available for existing air conditioners after 2020.
How does this affect me?
The phase out of R22 means that this refrigerant will be impossible to use for new AC units and any existing units that use it will be very expensive to maintain which means that older systems will need to be retrofitted to use newer safer forms of refrigerant such as:
- GENETRON AZ-20®
- SUVA 410A®
- Forane® 410A
If your AC unit was built and installed after January of 2010, it may already use one of the above refrigerants which means you don’t need to worry about R22. If it is older and was installed before 2010 then it is likely that you will need either a new system or a retrofit to your old one.
What if my air conditioning system uses R22?
To be clear, the EPA regulates the sale of the refrigerant, not what you use in your system. So while you aren’t required to change your refrigerant by law, at some point your refrigerant will need to be replaced and R22 refrigerant will no longer be available, at least without paying a small fortune. And the price of servicing older systems with R22 will only climb as demand continues on a compound that is no longer produced or widely available.
Your only real option is to replace your system with one that uses a safer R22 alternative although there are options that will allow you to retrofit your system.
Call Legacy Mechanical
If your AC system is was installed before January 2010 or if you aren’t sure what kind of refrigerant your systems uses, contact the experts at Legacy Mechanical. We can do an inspection to find out what refrigerant your current system uses and provide some options to help make the transition affordable. New equipment will not only change the type of refrigerant you use, but it will make the overall operation of your HVAC more efficient and cheaper to operate in the long run.
The R22 phase out can mean additional expense and headaches for some but the good news is that regardless of the steps you take to remedy the situation, you are not only reducing your future HVAC costs, but you are also doing your part to protect our planet.