Refrigerants play a vital role in an air conditioning system. Without a proper refrigerant, your air conditioner simply won’t be able to do its job, and your home will remain hot during the summer months. With that said, one of the popular refrigerants that has been used for many years – R22 – is being phased out due to environmental concerns. Let’s talk in this article about how the R22 phase-out may affect you and what you’ll need to do to keep your air conditioner working properly.
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Why Is The R22 Phase Out Happening?
The refrigerant R22 is being phased out of HVAC systems because of the harm it can do to the environment. Specifically, this refrigerant can harm the ozone layer, and as a result, it is gradually being removed from the market in many countries. Starting in 2020, it was no longer permissible to produce or import R22 in the United States. As R22 gives way, a refrigerant called R410A is taking its place, and that is what your system will use if you order new HVAC equipment for your Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex home.
So, if you need new equipment, the path forward is clear – your new system won’t use R22, and you won’t need to worry anymore about this transition. You’ll be up to date with the new standard for refrigerant, and the phasing out of R22 won’t have any impact on how you manage your home’s HVAC system. But what if you have older equipment that currently uses R22? What should you do moving forward? Let’s look closer at that situation in the next section.
Understanding Your Options
First, let’s make one point very clear – if you have an air conditioning system that uses R22, you do not have to stop using that system by any specific date. You are free to keep using your current equipment for as long as that equipment continues to function and serve your needs. And, if that system needs any service, you can have it maintained or repaired and continue to use it for as long as you like. There is no date established when R22 equipment must be shut down for good.
If you aren’t sure what kind of refrigerant is in your system, you can use the date it was installed as a good guideline. Units that were made and installed before 2010 may have R22 in the system, while those from after 2010 were likely created using the R410A option. If you have an owner’s manual for the unit, you can also consult that paperwork to find the information you need. Of course, if all else fails, a HVAC contractor can take a look at the system for you and make the determination.
The gray area that you are likely to get into as the owner of an older air conditioning system that is still using R22 refrigerant is what you can do when more refrigerant is needed to service your system. Remember, as stated above, it’s no longer permissible to produce or import this form of refrigerant in the United States. As a result, it’s not readily available as a supply for your chosen HVAC contractor to order and use in your system.
But that doesn’t mean that it can’t be found. Recycled R22 is still available, as is R22 that has been stored from before the ban on production and importing. Of course, as inventory dwindles, it will get harder and harder to find this type of refrigerant, and it will likely become more expensive. So, you are going to have to decide as you go when the cost and difficulty become too much to deal with and the easier option becomes to simply replace the equipment.
The phase-out of R22 doesn’t mean you are destined to deal with uncomfortable indoor temperatures all summer long. Knowing what this process looks like, and how it might affect your property, will help you make the right decisions to put a modern system in place that isn’t reliant on R22 any longer. Thank you for visiting and please contact Walker Air • Plumbing • Electric with any questions.