The R22 Phase Out and What That Means for You

The R22 Phase Out and What That Means for You

The new decade has brought new regulations and environmental protection policies in the heating and cooling industry. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), as of January 1st, 2020, the use of the R22 refrigerant is illegal to produce and import. To best address any issue involving the phase out of this product, consider talking to experts in HVAC systems, like Argent Heating & Cooling. Our team has served customers throughout the Washington D.C. Metro area for over 30 years, assisting them in maintaining and repairing their heating and cooling systems through any change. Our expert technicians are knowledgeable and skilled in numerous services, including repairs, regular maintenance, and unmatched HVAC installation services. Below, we discuss the implications of the removal of R22 refrigerant from HVAC systems: 

What is R22 and the Reason for the Phase Out?

R22 refrigerant, commonly known as Freon, is the chemical that facilitates the cooling of the air flowing from your air conditioning unit and is found in air conditioning appliances dated produced before 2010, which means there are countless homes and businesses that are continuing its use.

The reason for its removal from the industry standard is that, in 1987, The Montreal Protocol determined that R22 refrigerant, along with  several other chemicals, were depleting the ozone layer. The ozone layer is needed to protect us from harmful UV rays that can cause skin cancer and cataracts. The EPA has also banned other various ozone-depleting substances (ODS) to reduce greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. All in all, the purpose for its removal and prohibition is to protect and secure a healthy environment.  

How Do I Know if My System Uses R22 Refrigerant?

Check if your air conditioning unit is a model that is over 10 years old, as they are likely to contain the R22 refrigerant. You can find this out by looking at the appliance’s nameplate, which is usually found on the outdoor condenser of your central air conditioning system. You can either find the date of manufacturing, or to be even more accurate, the model number, which you can use to look up the manufacturing year and  whether it uses the unpermitted refrigerant. 

What if My Current HVAC System contains R22?

If you already have the R22 refrigerant flowing in your system, it is still acceptable to use. However, when the time comes to refill it, the R22 refrigerant will be prohibited for almost every HVAC company to use, and even if you could choose to use it, its decreased production and availability will make it more expensive than alternatives. 

What Are My Options Moving Forward?

 When it comes to dealing with the R22 phase out, there are a few options for you to consider.

  1. Continuing to use the R22 refrigerant is safe and acceptable, but due to the ban of production and import for the greenhouse gas, there will consequently be a lower supply. As a result, prices for the R22 refrigerant will likely skyrocket, as producers will have a scarce supply to sell but a high demand from those who seek to continue using it. 
  2. You can use what’s called a “drop-in” refrigerant. Think of a drop-in refrigerant as a spare tire replacing a flat. You don’t want to use it very long, and should be used only for the short-term, as it will result in decreased reliability and performance of your system. You can use a drop-in refrigerant when you are trying to decide whether to replace your system or continue using the R22 in your current system.
  3. The best option would be to purchase a new, environmentally friendly air conditioning unit that uses a less harmful substance than R22. One substitute for R22 is the R-410A refrigerant, commonly known as Puron. Moving forward, a replacement installation will be a much better investment for you, your home, and your business. Not only will you be saving money in the long run – you’ll also be saving the environment.

Argent Heating & Cooling: Premium HVAC Installations in Washington, D.C. Metro Area

Striving for a safer environment involves the elimination of ozone-depleting substances, such as R22 refrigerant. However you decide to handle the R22 phase out, you can count on Argent Heating & Cooling for all your HVAC installation services in the Washington, D.C. Metro area. Our team has spent over 30 years providing dedicated customer service and expertise in repair, maintenance, and installations for numerous appliances, including HVAC systems, radiant heating, home generators, and much more. Contact us at (703) 982-0110 to schedule a service today!