R22 Refrigerant: Get It Replaced!
- Air Conditioner
Before you shut down your AC for the winter, there’s something about it you need to consider. What kind of refrigerant does it use? Refrigerant is a liquid used in ACs and other devices to move heat and cool your home. R22 refrigerant, also known as Freon or chlorodifluoromethane is one of the more popular and well-known types out there. However, in two months, that’ll no longer be the case.
What’s going to happen to R22 refrigerant?
R22 refrigerant was first created in the 1950s and has been a popular choice for residential/commercial heating and cooling. However, in the 1970s, people found that refrigerants like R22 can cause major damage to the ozone layer when used. Learning this, the EPA and various global organizations met and created the Montreal Protocol. The purpose of the Montreal Protocol was to phase out the usage of ozone-damaging refrigerants and replace them with healthier alternatives. Starting in 2004, people have been lowering the usage of R22 and other hydrochlorofluorocarbons. Another major milestone came at the beginning of 2010 when manufacturers could no longer make units that used R22. At the end of 2019, we’ll see the final major deadline of the Montreal Protocol enacted. When that happens, R22 production will halt completely, and the only R22 that can be used is whatever has been recovered or recycled.
Long story short, this means you’ll pay a lot more to keep an older AC around. Older ACs tend to need more repairs, so each of those repair jobs will get a lot more expensive. It’s also worth noting that there are strict regulations on recycling and recovering R22. After the final deadline, the only ones who can buy from the R22 supply are EPA-certified technicians. All in all, the low supply is going to make R22 ACs much more expensive.
What should you do?
If your AC uses R22, we suggest getting a brand new AC. Our newer models use healthier refrigerant types such as R401a, a mix of R-32 and R-125. It’s sometimes possible to retrofit older models to use newer refrigerants, but those procedures are expensive and certain to void the warranty. Even worse, the procedure can break your AC, requiring you to pay for a new one as well as your failed retrofitting.
The only question left to ask is if your AC uses R22. The easiest estimate comes from your AC’s age. If it was made before 2010, then it likely uses R22. If not, it probably uses a different kind. The best way to check is to examine the AC unit’s manual or nameplate, which is usually located on the outside condenser. If you can’t find either of them or you still don’t know, you can always call the AC’s manufacturer or one of our professionals for help.
Call the professionals at Climate Control Experts to learn more about upgrading your AC!