R22 Refrigerant and Why You Should Replace It
- Air Conditioning
You may have shut down your AC, but there still may be a reason to think about it this winter. You may have more to do if it’s from before 2010. Do you know about refrigerant? It’s the liquid that moves around inside your AC to move heat and cool your home. One of the most popular kinds is called chlorodifluoromethane, better known as R22 refrigerant or Freon. However, when the year ends, that’s going to change.
R22 refrigerant: then and now
People first started using R22 refrigerant when it was first created in the 1950s. It’s been a popular choice for residential/commercial heating and cooling. However, in the 1970s, people discovered that refrigerants like R22 cause major damage to the ozone layer. This prompted the EPA and various global organizations to create the Montreal Protocol, a plan to phase out ozone-damaging refrigerants. Beginning in 2004, people have been lowering the usage of R22 and similar refrigerants. Since 2010, HVAC and AC manufacturers have stopped making units that use R22. The Montreal Protocol’s final deadline will come in when 2019 ends. After that, R22 production will completely halt, and the only R22 available will be recovered and recycled.
What does this mean for those who still using R22? It’s simple; you’ll pay a lot more to run your AC. Older AC units are already needy when it comes to repairs, so your service costs will become more expensive. Also, even before production stops, R22 recovery/recycling has been strictly regulated. After the final deadline, only EPA-certified technicians will be able to buy the remains of the R22 supply. All in all, R22 and any repairs involving it are going to get much more expensive.
What should you do?
With R22 spiking soon, we’d suggest getting a new AC. We sell a variety of energy-efficient models that use R401a refrigerant. This mix of two other refrigerants (R-32 and R-125) is much better for the ozone compared to R22. Some older units can be retrofitted to use R401a, but that procedure can get very expensive and is sure to void the warranty. It’s also possible that the procedure breaks your AC, which means you’ll have to buy a new one anyway.
However, how can you tell if your AC uses R22? A simple and fairly accurate way involves your AC’s age. If it was made before 2010, then it likely uses R22. If not, then it probably uses a different refrigerant. To know for certain what refrigerant it uses, check the AC unit’s manual or nameplate, which is often found on the outside condenser. If you can’t find them or are still unsure, call the AC’s manufacturer or call one of our professionals for help.
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