Does your A/C unit contain R22 refrigerant and if so, what does this mean to you and is my unit obsolete because it contains R22?
The production and Import of R22 refrigerant will be illegal on January 1st 2020. That means, if your air conditioner or heating system was installed before 2010, you might be in for an unpleasant surprise next time your system needs a repair or a refrigerant refill. Homeowners with a heating or cooling system that use R22 refrigerant will need to decide between a hefty repair bill or a total system replacement. If you fear your system may be affected by the R22 phase out, this article is important for you to read.
Why Is R22 Refrigerant Being Phased Out?
On January 1st, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) agreed to ban the production and import of R22 refrigerant because it is deemed as an ozone-depleting substance (ODS). The decision came as a part of the International Protocol, which is a broader initiative to protect the ozone layer.
The restrictions of the R22 ban also made it illegal to manufacture or install new R22 heating and cooling systems as a way to make strides toward phasing out the refrigerant all together. Through 2019, homeowners have been able to continue using R22 refrigerant for servicing the needs of existing equipment. However, homeowners have been forced to pay increasing costs of the refrigerant. The cost to obtain the refrigerant began to rise almost immediately after the ban, due to the decreasing supply and tighter regulations for acquiring the refrigerant. As of January 1st 2020, even existing equipment is covered in the ban of R22 refrigerant. Additionally, repairs on equipment that run on R22 will be phased out.
How to Know if Your AC Unit or Heating System Uses R22
- Looking at the age of your heating and cooling system is the easiest way to tell if your unit uses R22 refrigerant.
- If your unit was manufactured before 1996, it’s almost certain that your unit uses R22 refrigerant.
- If your system was manufactured between 1996 and 2009, it’s most likely that your unit uses R22, but it may run on R-410A. To be sure, look at your unit to see if there any stickers, markings or labels that identify the type of refrigerant used. If there is no indicator of the type of refrigerant on your heating and cooling system. Call us for help determining if your unit contains R22, 304-743-8895.
- Air conditioners manufactured in 2010 or after should use R410A refrigerant, because the ban was already implemented.
Options for R22 Replacements
If your system uses R22, you’ll need to consider replacement options. Because the refrigerant that makes your system work will be unavailable, you’ll need to:
- Retrofit or convert your older system to work with the newer refrigerants.
- Or Purchase a new system
According to the EPA, the most common alternative to R22 is R410A, which is approved as a non-ozone depleting refrigerant, R410A also goes by the names:
- GENTRON AZ-20
- SUVA 410A
Switching your system to work with R410A is not a cheap process. Though the cost will vary by HVAC company and geographic location, expect to pay anywhere from $2000 to over $4500 for the conversion. Unfortunately, not all systems will be compatible with a retrofit conversion. Contact us to discuss the cost to convert your unit, and if it would be less expensive to replace your system.
Purchasing a new system comes with a significant upfront investment which is a hurdle for many homeowners. A new system can cost anywhere from $4,000 to $14,000 depending on your equipment and we do have financing options to help you. Despite the upfront cost, replacing your system might make the most sense over the long haul. Old air conditioners not only use more energy than newer models, but they’re also prone to poor performance and high repair bills. For this reason, making the switch now may be annoying and costly but most likely will end up saving you money in the long run.
How to Make the Switch from R22 Refrigerant to R410A
If you have a unit that uses R22 refrigerant, the best way to determine your most cost-effective next steps is to:
- Call us and we will come out and inspect your current system.
- Learn the cost to either retrofit or replace your system.
Get a detailed list of new systems that would work best for your house and we have literature for the each of the different systems.