I’m sure you have heard by now that the “old” refrigerant used in air conditioners is being “phased-out”. What does this mean for you? Well, first you need to determine if it is going to impact you. You can tell if your system is an R-22 system by calling your local heating and air conditioning contractor to see if they have it recorded in their system, or you can look at the label on your outside unit. If your system has been installed recently, it is more than likely not going to be affected by the R-22 phaseout.
What is R-22 and why is it being phased out?
R-22 is classified as a hydrochlorofluorocarbon, which contributes to climate change and ozone depletion. Due to its effect on the ozone, the EPA has decided to phase it out of production by January 1, 2020. There are other refrigerants that exist that have a less harmful impact on the ozone, and some have better energy ratings/savings when used properly.
What Happens Now?
Before you call your heating & air conditioning company to come change out your system, you need to know that NO IMMEDIATE change is necessary. Although R-22 will no longer be produced or imported to America, it does not mean that it is all gone. R-22 can continue to be used. Many companies will send used R-22 to a certified recycling company, who will then bring it up to a “like new” standard to be used again. This is called reclaimed R-22 and will be available for a long time after the ban is in place.
Be aware though that due to the ban of production, R-22 prices could rise significantly. That means repairs could cost a homeowner a lot more. There are some alternative refrigerants available. These refrigerants could cost less, but it means that your system might need some adaptations to properly use them. A system replacement will be needed in the future and might be the most cost effective solution.
A quick word of caution, the EPA has set standards that a technician has to follow when working with refrigerants. Our technicians have their EPA certification so that they can work with the refrigerants properly.
If you have further questions we would be glad to answer them. Call Grizzle Heating & Air at 806-655-7676.