Gradually over the past few years, the US Environmental Protection Agency has been phasing out R-22 refrigerant, also known as HCFC-22 or Freon. Back in 2010 when the first step of the phase out was announced, 2020 may have seemed like a lifetime away, which put the idea of preparing for this change on the back-burner for many people. However, as we are now quickly approaching the complete ban set for January 1, 2020, and the urgency to make changes to your HVAC system is becoming stronger, here is all you need to know about the R-22 phase out and what you can do to prepare.
What is R-22 and why is it being banned?
R-22 is a type of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) that is used as a refrigerant that gives A/C units the power to cool down homes, businesses, and more. This type of refrigerant quickly became the industry standard years ago after replacing chlorofluorocarbons (CFC’s), which were found to be damaging the ozone layer. Now, R-22 and other HCFC’s are undergoing the same phase out process that CFC’s went through, because R-22 is still harming the atmosphere. In recent years, refrigerants without any harmful chlorine have become the new HVAC industry standard, including the R-22 replacement, R-407c.
How do you know if your HVAC system runs with R-22?
As long as their air conditioning system has been running properly, many people may not pay much attention to the type of refrigerant their unit runs on. Since R-22 has been phasing out over the past 10 years, and HVAC companies already started using other refrigerants, it is likely that if you have gotten a new A/C unit within the past decade, your unit does not use R-22. However, if your unit is more than 10 years old, you may be affected by the R-22 phase out. To find out if your A/C unit runs on R-22, you can check the manual, find information on the stickers located on the unit, or contact a reputable HVAC company like Canady’s Precision Heating & Air to find out for you.
If your system does use R-22, what are your next steps?
If you come to find that your A/C unit is still running with R-22, it is important to start planning for the R-22 ban as soon as possible. Leading up to the complete phase out, people were still able to have their systems with R-22 maintained, but at a higher cost due to its scarcity. After January 1, 2020, obtaining R-22 will no longer be legal, so to avoid the panic that may ensue if you have a leak after 2020, those with A/C units using R-22 can either pay for a retrofit or install a new A/C unit. A retrofit involves making eligible systems R-22 phase out-compliant, however, it is often more beneficial in the long run to toss the older unit and get a new unit that will last.
What are the benefits of buying a new R-22 phase out-compliant HVAC system?
If you decide to buy a new HVAC system to comply the R-22 refrigerant phase out, there are many benefits that come with both the use of other refrigerants and the new unit as a whole. Buying a new unit that uses refrigerants other than R-22 comes with a myriad of perks, including the recent refrigerants’ zero effect on the environment and their unparalleled safety ratings. Also, after a decade, many changes and advancements have been made in the HVAC industry as a whole. More recent models of A/C units are using less energy to cool homes, resulting in lower bills.
The best way to decide how to handle the R-22 phase out would be to talk with a HVAC technician and have them come look at your unit and discuss your best options. If your A/C unit is still using R-22, contact Canady’s Precision Heating & Air, and we will make sure that your system is up-to-date before 2020.