You have probably heard of R-22 refrigerant before, but do you know what it is or why it is going away? R-22, also known as FreonTM 22 or HCFC-22 Freon, is an HCFC refrigerant used for residential and commercial air conditioning and heat pumps which is currently being phased out.
Since January 1, 2010, the production and import of R-22 was banned in any new air conditioning units. The phase-out will be complete in 2020 and after that R-22 refrigerant will no longer be available as the production and import of any R-22 will be illegal. The only R-22 refrigerant that will be available will be through recycled or reclaimed options.
Why is R-22 refrigerant getting phased out?
R-22 refrigerant was deemed an environmental danger as it contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer. The U.S. government placed restrictions on the use of R-22 and issued the requirement that it must be eliminated from use in cooling systems by the year 2020. At this point, R-22 is no longer being manufactured and cannot be used as a refrigerant in any new air conditioning systems, however it is still being used in older equipment.
If your air conditioner still uses R-22, here’s what you need to know:
1.) You may continue to use R-22 in your existing system. There is currently no EPA requirement on usage of existing R-22 and it may be used indefinitely.
2.) R-22 will soon only be available through after-market sales from either those who have purchased it previously or R-22 that has been recovered from older systems and salvaged.
3.) As the demand of R-22 rises and availability becomes limited, expect the price to increase dramatically. There is also no guarantee of how long the current supply will be available.
4.) There are substitutes for R-22 that may be available to service and recharge your air conditioner.
If you are interested in a R-22 substitute, schedule an appointment to consult with our Service Technicians for recommendations for replacement refrigerant options. Or, if your system is already on its way out, it may be more cost-effective in the long-run to upgrade your system.