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R22 Refrigerant Phase Out – Does it Impact You?

Written by Comfort Solutions HVAC on . Posted in .

Important Information from Your Easton, PA HVAC Experts 

Was your air conditioning system installed before 2010? If yes, you may want to know more about the phase out of R22 refrigerant. Commonly known as Freon*, R22 is a chemical that cools the incoming air from your air conditioning system. If your AC is over ten years old, chances are that its very lifeline (the coolant) is under question due to the planned R22 phase out which takes effect in 2020. However, your trusted home comfort experts at Comfort Solutions HVAC want to assure you that there is no reason to panic. Read on to understand the R22 phase out and the various options that you can consider. 

*A registered trademark of DuPont Corporation

Highlights of R22 Phase Out and Options for Existing Users

First of all, do you know for sure whether your unit uses R22? Here are some ways to confirm:

  1. Check for mention of the refrigerant name on the outdoor condenser unit of your central AC system. 
  2. Read up the refrigerant name in your AC user manual, if you have access to it
  3. Reach out to your local service center with whom you may have an Annual Maintenance Contract (AMC). All information about your unit will usually be readily available with them.
  4. Call your local HVAC specialists in Easton, PA. Our service technician will visit your premises and let you know if your unit runs on Freon.

If you are sure that your air conditioning system uses R22, here is what you should know: 

Why is R22 being phased out? 

Over the years, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found that R22 is depleting the ozone layer and is a harmful agent for the environment. In cooperation with other environment protection groups across the world, they initiated a phase out of several such ozone-depleting agents through an international agreement known as, ‘The Montreal Protocol’. 

As per this agreement:  

  • The phase out of R22 production and imports started in 2003. The stock of this chemical continues to deplete rapidly, also leading to substantial increase in its prices. 
  • Only EPA-certified technicians can purchase the existing stock up to the year 2020, after which R22 production and import will be illegal in the U.S.
  • HVAC maintenance agencies will be able to obtain only recycled R22 refrigerant (which will likely be more expensive) for servicing old, R22-run AC systems after 2020.
  • Most units manufactured after 2010 started using a new energy-efficient, gentle-on-the-environment refrigerant, called R410a (brand name – Puron).

What are your options if you own an old AC unit?

  1. Continue to use your old system, but be prepared to pay a higher price for servicing appointments, as recycled R22 will be expensive to procure.
  2. Many agencies promise a ‘drop in’ replacement for R22. Essentially, it is about retrofitting your existing AC unit by swapping the R22 refrigerant with R410a. However, when done right, it requires replacement of many other refrigerant-dependent components, which makes the process more expensive than purchasing a new unit, and also voids the manufacturer warranty. If done incorrectly, you may be looking at untimely outages in the middle of a hot summer, along with expensive repairs or a full replacement. At Comfort Solutions HVAC, we caution our clients not to fall prey to this temporary fix and advise them to look at other options.
  3. Consider purchasing a new AC system and completely replace your old unit. In addition to being environmentally-safe and compliant with EPA protocols, a new unit will offer advantages, such as
    1. Intelligent, energy-efficient features that will reflect in your electricity bills right away
    2. Smart, virtual controls through mobile based apps 
    3. Less bulky and better-looking outdoor condenser units

At Comfort Solutions HVAC, our technicians can evaluate your AC unit and offer customized cooling solutions for retaining or replacing your existing system. If the R22 phase out is impacting you, consider our flexible and pocket-friendly arrangements for new AC system installation, with full coverage on repairs and maintenance at reasonable monthly installments. 

A large number of happy residents throughout Eastern PA and the surrounding areas of NJ count on us for practical and affordable heating and cooling solutions. 

Looking for installation, repairs or maintenance for your air conditioning system? Call 610-438-9300 to book an appointment with the experts at Comfort Solutions HVAC. You can also contact us online for a free estimate.