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r22 Refrigerant Is Officially Phased Out. What Does That Mean?

R-22 refrigerant, also called R-22 Freon and HCFC-22 Freon, is a common hydrochlorofluorocarbon/chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) refrigerant blend that is used in air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigeration systems.

On Jan. 1, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the production and import of R22 because of its particularly harmful impact and depletion of the earth’s ozone layer. In an effort to create environmentally friendly cooling systems, old refrigerant products are being phased out due to the Clean Air Act (CAA) in favor of less harmful alternatives.

If you are a homeowner with an air conditioning system that was manufactured before 2005, it is likely that the unit relies on r22 or other ozone-depleting substances. Not only will the price of r22 skyrocket, but it will be increasingly difficult to find as the supply of r-22 will become obsolete. With that in mind, here is everything you need to know about new refrigerants and what you can do to maintain your HVAC unit and make sure that it is compliant with new regulations.

What Does the r22 Phase Out Involve?

In 2018, the United States began limiting the amount of ozone-depleting r22 refrigerant that could be produced or imported. This process was meant to help the country comply with the Montreal Protocol, which is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone. As of January 1, 2020, the phase-out has been completed and no new r22 systems will be allowed. As a result, r22 will be increasingly difficult to purchase.

Your system, including your compressor, relies on using the right type of refrigerant for its performance specifications; therefore, the r22 is being replaced with a new refrigerant called r410a, which has been shown to have almost zero effect on the environment. R410a is significantly different from r22 and requires more pressure to operate correctly. For this reason, existing AC units will not be able to handle r410a and will need to be completely replaced.

If you are a homeowner with an old air conditioning system, you will need to take a look at the owner’s manual or the nameplate on the outdoor condenser to find out the type of refrigerant it uses. If that fails, you can always get one of our HVAC technicians to help you find out!

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What are the benefits of r410a?

Not only does r410a prevent the ozone from depleting, but it is also more energy-efficient. It can absorb and release heat more efficiently and is compatible with more modern units, so users will spend less on utility bills while also reducing environmental impact.

Bryant's 10 year warranty on Evolution HVAC Equioment.

How Can I Recharge My AC Unit?

If your air conditioning unit needs to be recharged or repaired, you may be able to purchase r22 refrigerant although a limited supply means that prices have skyrocketed and your repair bill will be substantially more expensive than in the past.

With some units, you may be able to invest in a retrofit or conversion so that it is compatible with new refrigerants. Keep in mind that this isn’t an option for all models, so you might want to have your unit inspected before you run into problems.

Finally, you can be proactive about replacing your ac unit. While this can be costly, it may be the best way to ensure that you don’t spend weeks during the heat of summer waiting for HVAC services. As you might imagine, there will be plenty of other customers who need their units repaired or replaced and you don’t want to be stuck without AC while HVAC companies try to deal with an increase in demand.

What are the Benefits of Replacing AC Units?

While you might not be excited about the prospect of having to replace your AC unit, there are some benefits and financial incentives that will help make the transition more cost-effective. Replacing your old unit with a newer, more energy-efficient model will help you reduce cooling costs. These monthly savings will quickly add up and help offset system replacement costs.

In addition, the government is currently offering significant tax breaks for those who have to invest in a new unit. In fact, you can claim the entire cost of the system, which means thousands of dollars in savings. If you are on the fence about whether you should replace it now or wait until the unit breaks down, keep in mind that these tax breaks aren’t permanent and could be eliminated next year.

Individual cities, manufacturers, and utility companies are also offering various incentives and rebates to help everyone make the transition. Be sure to research options to make sure you enjoy the most savings possible.

The switch from r22 to r410a may present a temporary inconvenience along with extra costs, but ultimately, it will help to protect the environment and provide customers with better, more efficient cooling solutions. To avoid further inconveniences, be sure to talk to your HVAC specialist as soon as possible. They will be able to determine whether you can retrofit your existing unit and help walk you through the replacement process. Being proactive now is the best way to make sure that you don’t have to deal with a malfunctioning AC unit or a refrigerant leak when the weather is warm and demand for repair services is at its peak.

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