The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated the complete phase-out of Class II Ozone-Depleting Substances, including R-22 refrigerant commonly found in most residential HVAC systems. The EPA halted the importation and production of R-22 on January 1st, 2020. Since the initial phase-out, most HVAC companies have seen significant price increases on their supplies of R-22 by as much as 500%.
What does this mean for home and business owners?
What are refrigerants?
Refrigerants are essential to the smooth operation of all residential air conditioner units. These substances operate within the coils of your air conditioner unit, where they absorb the heat from inside your home or business and exhaust it to the outdoors.
Why was R-22 phased out?
What is the replacement for R-22?
Manufacturers have shifted AC units' production from the R-22 units to use the EPA-recognized refrigerant R-410A as a replacement for R-22. R-410A is a safer compound and does not contribute to ozone depletion.
Current R-22 air conditioning system owners should expect a significant rise in their repair costs as there has been a drastic cut in the production of R-22 since 2015. Moreover, if your R-22 air conditioning unit were to fail, a replacement unit would not be an R-22 unit as production for these was halted in 2010.
How can I tell if my system uses R-22?
This information varies by manufacturer but is often on the nameplate on the side of your air conditioning system's outdoor condenser. If not, you may be able to find it in the fine print on the manufacturer's data plate on the condenser, air handler, or in an owner's manual. As a rule of thumb, if your air conditioner is 12+ years old, chances are it uses R-22.
Can an R-22 system be converted to R-410A?
No. R-410A in any unit requiring R-22 can damage the air conditioning unit or cause it to malfunction. A complete system replacement is necessary to transition to R-410A.
Also, we feel the need to stress; you cannot use R-410A in an R-22 unit. The two compounds are entirely incompatible and will result in severe damage to your air conditioning unit and potentially your property.
How does the R-22 phase-out affect me?
If you have a system currently using R-22, the cost to recharge your system will become more expensive. The EPA halted the production and importation of R-22 refrigerants, which means the entire country works with only stockpiled quantities. As supply decreases, the cost of R-22 will continue to increase. One must weigh their options between continuing to repair their R-22 system or replacing it.
Will an R-410A air conditioning unit cost more than an R-22 unit?
Due to the phase-out of R-22 and R-22 air conditioner unit production, R-410A systems are much more cost-effective than their outdated counterparts. Plus, you will not have to spend as much money on nagging repairs. There are also opportunities for rebates through your utility company when purchasing a high-efficiency system.
How can ServiceOne help?
For the past 6-years, ServiceOne has been informing our customers of the impending phase-out. We have applied hundreds of thousands of dollars in credits to move our customers from R-22 systems to R-410 systems. If you need a new air conditioner or are worried about your current R-22 system's performance, please give us a call, and one of our ServiceOne professionals can answer any questions you have.