The Phaseout of R-22 Refrigerant: What Homeowners Need to Know
If you have an air conditioner or heat pump that’s older than a few years, you will be affected by the R-22 refrigerant phaseout, a process that began in 2010 and will continue until 2020. The phaseout involves the gradual reduction of R-22 refrigerant production, leading to a halt of new production in 2020. This means that while no new products that run on R-22 refrigerant have been sold in the U.S. since 2010, you are not required to replace your existing equipment. However, you can expect the costs of servicing and recharging your older cooling system to continue rising.
In place of R-22 refrigerant (also known by the brand name “Freon”), air conditioning manufacturers are following regulations laid down by the federal EPA and producing A/Cs and heat pumps that run on R-410A refrigerant. This alternative, also called Puron, is considered ozone-friendly because it does not contain chlorine, an environmentally dangerous chemical. Now that you know the basics of the R-22 refrigerant phaseout, here are some helpful details to aid you during this transition period.
R-22 is getting more expensive and harder to get
In accordance with the R-22 refrigerant phaseout, less and less of R-22 is being produced today. Lower supply means you’ll have to pay more to recharge your equipment if it still runs on R-22 refrigerant. Mixing refrigerants or using incompatible equipment is a no-no R-22 systems are only designed to run on R-22 refrigerant. Any attempts to replace this with R-410A or any other alternative refrigerant could lead to poor system performance, decreased indoor comfort, higher energy bills and premature system failure. This rule also applies to using incompatible equipment.
For example, if your outdoor compressor gives out but the older indoor equipment still functions, you’ll likely have to replace both parts so the entire system is compatible with R-410A refrigerant. Failure to do so could lead to the same problems as mixing refrigerants. (Some older systems can undergo costly modifications to run on the newer refrigerant, though most experts say buying a new system is a preferable route to take.) Installation is just as important as quality equipment As you shop for a new A/C or heat pump, make sure you only trust a qualified professional to install, repair and tune up your air conditioning system. This ensures top performance today, tomorrow and for years to come.
For more information about the R-22 refrigerant phaseout, please contact us at Sobieski Services. Our goal is to help educate our customers in Delaware, Pennsylvania, Maryland and New Jersey about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC & plumbing systems).
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