What Should I Do? R-22 Refrigerant Phase Out

An AC repairman discussing the R-22 refrigerant phase out to two of his customers outside their home.

If you have an older HVAC unit, chances are good that it uses a refrigerant called R-22 Freon, also known as HCFC-22 Freon. Within the decades, the Environmental Protection Agency has learned that the refrigerant has been contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer and initiated its phaseout.

 

You are probably wondering how this phaseout is going to affect you. We have compiled a list of our most commonly asked questions to help you better understand what will happen to your older unit.

When will the phaseout of the coolant begin?

The phaseout of R-22 actually began decades ago when the EPA realized its harmful effects on the ozone layer. It began by limiting the supply of R-22 by small, incremental amounts over the years. This affected all of us with the slowly increasing prices as the R-22 was being limited. The EPA's plan is in its final phase, where beginning January 1, 2020, a ban on the U.S. production and import on R-22 was enacted.

Will the production of R-22 be stopped completely?

Yes, in the United States, production was completely halted as of January 1, 2020. It will also no longer be imported from countries that still produce R-22. As more of the older HVAC units are replaced, R-22 may be recovered and then reused in units that are still in working order.

How will this impact my older unit and its future repairs?

While you may not feel any impact for years to come, as your older unit requires maintenance and repairs, you will notice an increase in the cost to fix your system. The main impact for future repairs of older HVAC systems is that the cost of R-22 is expected to skyrocket over the coming months and years, making your repairs much more expensive. Eventually, a replacement of the HVAC system may actually be more cost-effective than repairing it.

What are the advantages of replacing the unit?

Aside from the benefit of a new unit with refrigerant that is better for the environment and less costly to repair, a new air conditioning unit may actually save you money in the long run. New AC units are much more efficient than the older ones.

Older units have to work much harder to provide a consistent level of cooling, oftentimes making your energy bills unbearably high. Our customers who have made the switch to high-efficiency systems have reported saving hundreds of dollars per year on their energy bills—such huge savings mean that you will be able to make up the cost difference within a few years, and then keep on saving into the future. There is even a tax credit for those who install EnergyStar models, incentivizing the purchase of high-efficiency HVACs even more.

New, high-efficiency units also boast vastly improved cooling over the older units. The efficient system will cool all areas of your home that the older unit may not have been able to reach. Another benefit of a new, efficient system is that it is going to much quieter than your old unit. Your old ACs condenser had to work longer and harder, making quite a racket in some cases. Some new units even feature sound dampening, making them even quieter.

With over 100 years of combined experience, American Air Cares are your local experts in the installation, repair, and maintenance of air conditioning systems. While the phaseout of R-22 refrigerant may not affect you for years to come, we will be here for all of your HVAC service in Port St. Lucie and surrounding areas for your air conditioning, heating, and air quality needs.

Contact us today for your free consultation.