The United States has committed to reducing ozone-depleting substances to help protect the environment. As part of this commitment, chemical refrigerants made from hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are set to be completely phased-out from use by January 1, 2020—only a few months away.
What does this mean for you? If you have an older air conditioning system that uses R-22 refrigerant, a.k.a. HCFC-22, it means plenty. For many decades, R-22 was the most common refrigerant blend used in air conditioning equipment. Newer AC models built since the start of the phaseout use an ozone-safe refrigerant blend call R-410A. You can check which type your air conditioning system uses by looking on the metal plate on the back of the condenser cabinet. It will have either R-22 or R-410A clearly marked.
If you have an R-410A air conditioner, then you’re in good shape for the future. If you have an R-22 air conditioner, there’s more you need to know.
What the Phaseout Means for an R-22 Air Conditioner
The phaseout of HCFCs has advanced in stages. In 2015, R-22 production, import, and use was banned with the exception of continuing service for already existing systems. The construction of any new air conditioners using R-22 was also halted. As of 2020, R-22 will be completely banned, and the only way to service an existing system using R-22 will be to use recycled or stockpiled quantities.
So although you are not required to stop using the R-22 air conditioner you currently have on New Year’s Day 2020 and immediately replace it, the availability of R-22 will drop and the cost of the remaining supplies will rise. If you do need service for your R-22 system, make certain you only rely on EPA-certified technicians to prevent the accidental release of the harmful chemicals into the air.
Should I Invest in a New Air Conditioning System?
Although it isn’t absolutely necessary to upgrade your HVAC equipment to R-410A systems, it’s strongly recommended. Not only does changing to a new air conditioning system make it easier and less expensive to have the equipment serviced, R-410 air conditioners have much higher energy efficiency than older R-22 units. Even if your current AC is only ten years old, you will see significant improvements in your energy bills with an upgrade to newer equipment.
No matter what decision you make, stay informed and work with certified professionals. You can trust our technicians to assist you with making smart decisions for the future of your HVAC equipment and your family’s comfort.
Resicon LLC serves the Greater Tacoma Area. Call us if you need to update your HVAC equipment.