What Will Happen to R22 and How Does it Affect You Published on May 17, 2016 If you don’t know what R22 is and your air conditioner is five years or older, you should keep reading. Refrigerant is what keeps the air coming from your air conditioning system cool, so it’s obviously incredibly important. Most air conditioners 10 years or older use an air conditioning refrigerant called R22. This refrigerant was instituted in the 1950s and became the chief AC refrigerant in the residential HVAC industry. About 30 years later the world discovered that R22 refrigerants were contributing to the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer. Not cool. So the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in cooperation with other agencies and organizations, began a phase-out of many ozone-depleting agents, including R22 refrigerant. By the start of 2010 the creation and import of R22 would be outlawed. The loophole was existing equipment were excluded from the ban. So the manufacturing and import stopped, but R22 was still available for sell and use until the start of 2015. Then, by 2020, R22 would essentially no longer be in operation, at least in the U.S. So here’s a brief rundown before we get into why this is important to you: R22 is not in production anymore in North America You can get recycled R22 currently to service existing heating and cooling systems that uses this certain AC refrigerant The amount charged for R22 is increasing because of the restricted supply, and will not be available by 2020 So what do you do? If your heating and cooling unit was produced after January 2010, you are most likely not affected by the EPA refrigerant rules and regulations. If your heating and air conditioning unit was produced prior to January 2010, especially if it’s older than a decade, you have a couple options: 1) Upgrade with today’s more environmental systems, which use the approved AC refrigerant. 2) Replace parts in your current system to make it compatible with approved AC refrigerant. This is not recommended and may void any remaining warranties. 3) Continue using recycled R22 until 2020. The easiest option is to purchase a new, upgraded air conditioner, especially if your current AC system is already over 10 years old. Even though we know making an unanticipated purchase may not be the easiest option, Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning has many financing options that help make the investment highly affordable. A new piece of AC equipment will also be more efficient and deliver better comfort, helping to decrease your energy bills. The next option would vary in price and isn’t a permanent option. You could have your AC adjusted by a heating and air conditioning expert and switch over to an approved AC refrigerant. This demands a lot more than just flushing out the system and adding new A/C refrigerant; it also requires new parts for the system. Your manufacturer will most likely not reimburse you for the parts to make this transition because retrofitting your A/C equipment will likely void the warranty. It’s also not a long-term option and will probably only give you a couple more years of use. It’s a short-term fix, and may be less expensive than a new air conditioning unit today, but purchasing a new upgraded air conditioner will probably benefit most homeowners in maintainability, peace-of-mind, and long-term comfort. The last choice is to stay the status quo. You can continue using recycled R22 AC refrigerant for the foreseeable future. While this sounds like a great alternative, you run into a few issues. The cost of servicing old R22 AC equipment is starting to climb to over several hundred dollars (easily a down payment on a new AC system). You will also most likely see the prices increase as demand continues to rise on a chemical that is no longer manufactured or widely available. If you aren’t positive what type of AC refrigerant your air conditioning system uses, we are available to help. Call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today and we can perform an inspection to determine if you are currently using R22 and, if so, which option works best for you. Does Your HVAC Unit Use R-22? If you have an AC that was manufactured before 2010, your AC unit will most likely have R-22. But, if you installed your air conditioner after January 1, 2010, then your system would most likely not have R22. You can lookup the type of refrigerant your air conditioner uses by looking at appliance’s nameplate. This nameplate is often located on the outdoor condenser of your central air conditioning system. Alternatively, you can open your user’s manual or get in touch with your local Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) service company. While making the switch to an approved AC refrigerant may be frustrating, it’s saving the environment and saving our air.