By now, you may have heard that the national phase-out of R-22 refrigerant is entering its final stages. There’s a lot of misinformation out there about the phase-out. If you have a system that uses R-22 refrigerant, read on for the facts.
What is R-22 Refrigerant?
R-22 is a type of refrigerant, a chemical that your air conditioner or heat pump uses to transfer heat. It’s also a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) that contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer. Because of environmental concerns, the United States government initiated a phase-out of R-22 a decade ago.
Where are we in the R-22 phase-out?
Starting in 2010, U.S. manufacturers were no longer allowed to produce HVAC equipment that used R-22. However, manufacturers were still allowed to produce small amounts of R-22 to service older systems.
Beginning on January 1, 2020, manufacturers will no longer be allowed to produce or import R-22 at all. Existing systems that use R-22 will still work for the time being, but any repairs that require a refrigerant recharge are going to become more expensive because there will be only limited amounts of recovered or stockpiled R-22 available.
What should you do?
We often recommend that our customers with older systems proactively upgrade to a new system because any pre-2010 air conditioner is close to the end of its lifespan by now anyway. A new system will be more efficient and reliable, and there’s no risk of expensive recharges down the road.
If you choose to keep your existing system, you run the risk of a paying quite a bit more for a future repair if it needs a recharge. However, you do have time to make a decision. Your air conditioner isn’t going to suddenly stop working, and the only repairs that will increase in cost are those that require a recharge. We can still fix any mechanical or electrical problems, for instance, at the normal cost.
For more information on the R-22 phase-out or to discuss your options, check out our air conditioning solutions or call 678-369-8866.