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The R22 Refrigerant Phase Out and You: What You Need to Know

R22 refrigerant, or HCFC-22, is on its way out as part of broad U.S. federal government regulations to curb ozone depletion.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency began to phase out the refrigerant, which was used for decades by many HVAC manufacturers, in January 2010 with a ban on producing, importing, and using HCFC-22 except for servicing existing equipment. That ban expanded in January 2020 to include the refrigerant’s remaining production and import. As a result, many HVAC repair companies now rely on stockpiles of the coolant to help homeowners repair older units.

So, what do you do if your unit still uses R22? Let’s find out.

Options for Older Units

It’s vital to understand that government regulations are not pushing you to immediately stop using your unit if it uses R22. Instead, there are options for homeowners who find themselves at a crossroads when it comes to an older unit that uses the coolant.

Continue to Use the Old Unit With R22

The ban on R22 does not stop you from using your older unit. If anything, these regulations set a timer on when businesses and homeowners should decide to upgrade to a newer unit. Many HVAC companies still maintain a stockpile of refrigerant for these older units that need maintenance. However, due to the dwindling supply, homeowners may incur a higher price on filling up with this coolant.

Refill With R22 Alternatives

Yes, there are alternative coolant options for R22. R410-A is a recent example, offering non-ozone-depleting capabilities. However, older units may need retrofitting to accept the alternative coolants.

However, R22 alternative coolants are not known to be as effective as the original coolant. On top of that, some units cannot use these alternatives. You may also need to repair or replace several seals on your unit as part of the retrofitting process. Consider these alternatives as nothing more than stopgaps for eventually replacing your unit. The EPA maintains a list of alternative coolants, which you can check out.

Invest in a New Unit

Like death and taxes, buying a new air conditioning unit is something you’ll need to purchase if you plan to stay in your home long-term. New units open your home to better energy efficiency standards, saving you more on energy costs over time. While you will incur significant up-front costs in buying and installing a unit, you now have a piece of equipment requiring very little maintenance other than bi-annual service calls from your HVAC installation company.

Need R22? Premier HVAC Mechanical Corporation Can Help!

Premier HVAC Mechanical Corporation has a stockpile of R22 refrigerant for homes with older units, making us one of the only companies in the area to provide this service. However, homeowners must understand that R22 refrigerant will eventually run out. By January 2030, the EPA says there will be a total ban on importing or manufacturing this coolant and others that can deplete the ozone layer.

Contact us today if your unit can only use R22 refrigerant. We’ll work with you to refill the unit or provide you with information to help you purchase a new unit.  Whatever your choice, Premier HVAC wants to be your choice in HVAC services.

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