What Does The R-22 Refrigerant Phase-Out Mean For Your HVAC System?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated the complete phase out of Class II Ozone-Depleting Substances, including R-22 refrigerant commonly found in most residential HVAC systems. The EPA has been phasing R-22 (commonly known as Freon) out so it will be completely eliminated from residential and commercial HVAC systems by 2020. Since the initial announcement from the EPA, most HVAC companies have seen a significant price increase 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?

R-22, commonly known as Freon, was a commonly used propellant and refrigerant. But the compound’s ozone depletion potential was high and it also has high global warming potential.

What Is The Replacement For R-22?

Manufacturers have shifted production of AC units 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’s been a drastic cut in the production of R-22 since 2015. And, if your R-22 air conditioning unit were to fail entirely, a replacement unit would not be an R-22 unit as production of these air conditioning units were halted in 2010.

How Can I Tell If My System Uses R-22?

This varies by manufacturer, but most often, this information can be found on the nameplate located on the side of your air conditioning system’s outdoor condenser. If it’s not there, you may be able to find it as fine print on the manufacturer’s data plate on the condenser or air handler, or in an owner’s manual. As a general rule of thumb, if your air conditioner is 10+ years old, chances are it uses R-22.

Can An R-22 System Be Converted To R-410A?

No. The use of R-410A in any unit that it’s not specifically designed for can damage the air conditioning unit or cause it to malfunction. A full system replacement is necessary to eventually 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 completely incompatible and will result in serious damage to your air conditioning unit and potentially your property.

Will An R-410A Air Conditioning Unit Cost More Than An R-22 Unit?

Due to the phase-out of the manufacturing of R-22 and R-22 air conditioner unit production, R-410A systems are much more cost-effective than their outdated counterparts. If you are in need of a new air conditioner or are worried about the performance of your R-22 unit, please give us a call and one of our ServiceOne professionals can answer any questions you have.


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