Will the Phaseout of R22 Refrigerant Affect You?

If it's been quite some time since you've replaced your air-conditioning system, when the new year rolls around your system may be out of compliance. On January 1, 2020, the air-conditioning refrigerant R22 will be banned from the United States. After this date, it will be illegal to produce or import R22 refrigerant, which is commonly referred to by its trade name, Freon. This means that it will be difficult to get as the remaining supply will be low and the cost will be high.

Refrigerant pressure gauge

When the supply of R22 runs out, your only recourse will be to replace or retrofit your system with a new one that uses R410A refrigerant instead. You can still use your R22 air-conditioning system, but once the refrigerant level has dropped to where the system no longer generates cold air, you'll more than likely need to replace your system. Keep reading to learn more.

Environmental Impact

An air-conditioning system needs refrigerant to produce cold air. Over the last several years, R22 refrigerant has been phased out because of its ozone depletion potential and high global warming potential. A new, more environmentally friendly refrigerant has been developed. R410A refrigerant is completely chlorine-free. To help homeowners make the transition, for the last five or more years, manufacturers have been manufacturing only air-conditioning equipment that uses the R410A refrigerant. Besides making it illegal to manufacture or sell R22 refrigerant, after January 1, 2020, it will also be illegal to manufacture equipment that uses R22.

Air-Conditioning System Replacement

You can still run your R22 air-conditioning system after January 1, 2020, but once the refrigerant has been used up, and the system has nothing left to generate cold air, you will need to replace your system. You can call in an AC replacement company to measure your R22 level. If you have a good level of R22 refrigerant, you may be able to get an additional year or two before needing to replace your system, depending on how much you use your air-conditioning. This will give you time to start saving to purchase a new system.

Technician adding refrigerant in Atlanta

Retrofit Option

Some heating and cooling companies offer a retrofit option. You can't simply use R410A refrigerant on air-conditioning systems designed to use R22 refrigerant. Both refrigerants need different pressure levels to work properly. Retrofit kits are available that allow an R22 system to use R410A refrigerants. But these retrofit kits won't work with all makes and models of AC systems. Contact your AC repair company to determine if this option will work for you and get it professionally installed.

How to Know What Your System Uses

The best way to know if your air-conditioning system uses R22 or R410A is to read the label on the condenser. The condenser is the part of the air-conditioning system that sits outside your house. If the label isn't legible from sun or weather damage, write down the name of the manufacturer, serial number, and model number and search online.

To learn more about the R22 phaseout and your air-conditioning system, call Shumate Mechanical at 470-433-0915. You can also visit the United States Environmental Protection Agency website to view frequently asked questions and answers.

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