The refrigerant is what makes the air coming from your air conditioner cool. However, most air conditioners 10 years or older use an air conditioning refrigerant called R22. This type of refrigeration is no longer being used, and we want you to know what that means for your system.
What does this Phase-out mean for your HVAC System?
The current phase-out of R-22 in residential and commercial properties has been leaving home and business owners with unanswered questions. How will this impact the cost of repairs on my HVAC system? Do I need to replace the entire unit? What are my options?
Our team of highly trained professionals will be more than happy to help you navigate these questions and others that may arise. In the meantime, let’s take a look at a few different options for your HVAC system moving forward.
A Brief History
About 25 years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated the phasing-out of R-22 as the result of growing environmental concerns. R-22 had chlorine in it, and that was not in accordance with the Clean Air Act that was in place to protect the Earth’s ozone layer from such contaminants.
Production of new air conditioning units charged with R-22 ended in 2010, and by 2020 the servicing of R-22-based systems will rely solely on recycled or reclaimed refrigerants. Meaning that chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce or import R-22 and production will continue until the year 2020 for use in servicing existing equipment.
Service to Current HVAC systems
If your air conditioner was manufactured before 2010, it probably utilizes R-22. But that doesn’t mean that it’s all bad news! The good news here is that existing units using R-22 can continue to be serviced with R-22 as there is no EPA requirement for change or conversion of these units. However, we do suggest getting it replaced reletivly soon, so you’re not stuck with an obsolete system.
Retrofits and Substitutions
Substitute refrigerants can work well in R-22 units with a few adjustments to system components. Retrofit HVAC units or converted R-22 units utilizing an alternate refrigerant that has been found acceptable for use.
For example, simply replacing R-22 refrigerant with R-410A in a preexisting R-22 unit is not recommended. Due to the R-410A’s higher working pressure. However, a certified professional can replace R-22 condensers with R-410A condensers, as long as the system coil is also updated.
However, the EPA warns of potential safety hazards related to the use of unapproved refrigerants in home AC units, as they are not designed to handle flammable refrigerants.
Impact to the Environment
If you’re looking to help the environment, replacing the R-22 unit for your home or business is one of the best ways. Today’s air conditioners use a lot less energy, provide cost savings in maintenance and electric costs, and offer a green alternative to R-22 units. Rebates and tax credits also help to offset the cost of new systems.
Contact Us Today
If you would like to learn more about your options for replacing your R-22 unit or would like an estimate, don’t hesitate to call us today! We have the experience and knowledge about AC units that you can trust. Give A-1 Cooling & Refrigeration a call at 540-662-9706 to see how we can help you.