R-22 REFRIGERANT PHASE OUT

If you are reading this, you’ve probably heard about the R-22 refrigerant phase out. Maybe it came up in conversation at a family gathering, or maybe you asked your neighbors why they were doing work on their air conditioning system and they mentioned that the refrigerant, would soon be illegal in the U.S. Those conversations might have triggered a lot of questions in your mind, such as “If my AC system uses R-22, do I need to replace it?” and “if I don’t do anything, will I be in trouble with the law?”

Well, you can relax, because the short answers to the questions above are not necessarily and no (at least not as far as your air conditioning is concerned). Here’s what you should know:

R-22: What is it and why is it being phased out?

R-22 has been the main refrigerant used in residential and commercial air conditioners for decades. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has determined that R-22 is harmful to the Earth’s ozone layer and therefore implemented a nationwide phase out. Because of this, production of heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units that use R-22 has been stopped and the EPA requires that production of the refrigerant itself must completely stop by January 1, 2020.

How do I know if my system uses R-22?

It’s not too difficult to tell what type of refrigerant your air conditioning system uses. You can take a look at the label on the condenser unit outside, it should be clearly marked. Or you can call your air conditioning service provider. They should have a record of your system specifications from previous service calls.

If my system uses R-22, what are my options?

First, if your system is working well, you have no leaks, and your service provider isn’t becoming a regular face at your home in order to recharge the system, you probably don’t need to do anything right away.

But if your system develops a leak and needs refrigerant added, it will become harder and harder to obtain R-22, the cost is skyrocketing, and you can’t simply put in a different type of refrigerant as the system will not work properly.

Some providers, like Levco, stocked up on condensers when the phase out began and may be able to replace your leaking R-22 unit with a similar working model as long as inventory is still available. This will only solve your problem temporarily though, as you’ll still be dependent on the future availability of R22.

Another option may be to retrofit the coils in your existing equipment with ones that are compatible with the new R-410A refrigerant.

The Verdict

Although some of the above options are certainly less costly than installing brand new equipment, if your system’s cooling performance is inconsistent, if your energy bills have continually risen, or if your system is more than 20 years old, it may be most cost effective to replace it with a new modern model. Recent advances in air conditioning technology have greatly improved energy efficiency allowing you to save money in the long run.

If you are currently experiencing issues with your air conditioning system or would like to speak with an expert on upgrading your equipment, give Levco a call and we would be happy to explain your options and provide you with a solution.

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