R-22 - What The Phase Out Means To Your HVAC System
R-22 is a refrigerant that was formerly used in the United States, Canada and most of Europe in standard air conditioning units. After discovering that R-22 causes harm to the environment, including depleting the ozone layer, alternative refrigerants were developed that were eco-friendly and functioned in the same way. One of these alternatives is R-410A, which contains only fluorine and not harmful chemicals like chlorine or bromine. If you have an older central air conditioning unit, you may still be using R-22 as your coolant, but all HVAC systems built after 2010 have been mandated to accept only R-410A.
Thanks to this mandate, the supply of R-22 is gradually depleting as companies cease to manufacture the coolant. That means that the price for R-22 will continue to rise as supply drops. So, is there anything you can do for your HVAC system apart from upgrading to a brand new model? And if so, what is it?
Keeping Your Existing Unit
An existing HVAC unit that requires R-22 can legally be serviced with that refrigerant. There is no requirement to change or convert R-22 units into R-410A units. However, added pressures like a depleting supply, harm to the ozone layer and rising prices will likely incentivize you to upgrade your refrigerant. You can upgrade parts of your HVAC system to accept the new refrigerant without replacing your entire air conditioner. Retrofitting your unit to accept R-407C (a similar alternative to the reigning R-410A) will be relatively expensive and allow your unit to run on a new, upgraded coolant.
Installing a New Unit
If you have an older air conditioning system and you’re considering an upgrade, there is no better time to do so. New, eco-friendly air conditioning units are much more energy efficient, often paying for themselves in the course of several years. Investing in a new air conditioner will also save you the added cost of purchasing R-22, as all new models run on R-410A. If you have a unit that 10 years old or older, consult a professional about the possibility of upgrading and discuss the energy saving benefits of doing so.
The Clean Air Act is the government mandate to cease the production of R-22 in favor of cleaner R-410A. If you’re interested in learning more about handling, disposing and recycling R-22 in a safer, green way, you can read the specific containment and management practices outlined in the Clean Air Act. If you want to help the environment without saying goodbye to your R-22, contact service technicians who are EPA-certified to handle that and other refrigerants, rather than hiring someone who is not certified the next time your HVAC encounters a problem.
If you are interested in buying a new air conditioner or simply replacing your coolant, you can contact a professional who will guide you through the process. If you choose to simply upgrade your coolant, you will be able to pay less for your refrigerant than if you continued to pay rising prices for R-22.