How Will the R22 Refrigerant Dephase Affect You

Do you own an air conditioning system that was made before 2010 or is over ten years old? If so, you may be in for a surprise the next time your refrigerant gets low.

R22 refrigerant has been the most common cooling agent used in air conditioners since as far back as the 1950’s. However, since 2010, there has been a phase-out in place, to stop using this refrigerant completely by the year 2020. If you own a unit that uses R22, here is what you need to know about the phase out and how it will affect you.

Why Is R22 Being Phased Out?

When it comes to health and the environment, many different products have been found to be harmful that we once used in high quantities. Asbestos and lead are great examples, used in everything from paint and brake pads to building materials. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and other governmental departments are continuously evaluating the safety of products for overall health of people and the environment, and will then enforce those regulations. One of the components that has come under scrutiny hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) that are used R22 refrigerant.

The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer is a worldwide treaty to help protect the environment. Products that effect ozone depletion have begun to be phased out, including the active HCFCs in R22. Under the protocol, R22 has stopped being used in air conditioning units since 2010. All units made after 2010 use alternative cooling sources. However, since many homes and businesses still have air conditioning units that use R22, the complete phase-out is being extended over ten years, with a complete phase out by 2020.

Can I Still Get R22 for My Air Conditioner?

Yes, but it is becoming more limited and becoming more expensive as production levels decrease per the phase out. However, there is recycled R22 that can be used while available. What you should know is that due to the limited supply of recycled R22, it can be more expensive to replace than it was in the past. You can continue using your older air conditioning unit and can do so until it no longer works.

Options for Owners of Older A/C Units

If you have a model of air conditioner that was built before 2010, it may still use R22. Since there is less than three years left until the final phase out, if you need refrigerant, you have a few options. You can still use the recycled R22, but you may pay a slightly higher cost. It is possible to have your air conditioning unit upgraded to use a different type of refrigerant. This is expensive, however, and may be more cost-effective to replace the unit.

Replacing your old A/C unit with a newer version is often the best solution. While it may entail an initial investment greater than maintenance of your old unit, there are benefits to buying a new unit; you will no longer need to worry about the R22 phase–out, and whether you will be able to get refrigerant the next time you need it. Plus, consider there are other benefits that could save you money in the long run.

Newer models of A/C units have improved energy efficiency, which may help reduce your monthly bills for cooling your home. Keeping your home comfortable when the temperatures reach well into the triple digits, in Arizona, can be expensive, especially when you own a unit that is ten years old or older. Models that have a higher seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) can have a large impact on reducing your energy costs. Many older A/C units had SEER ratings of 10 or below; newer models can be rated at up to 23. Upgrading a unit that has a SEER rating under 10 to one at least 13 can save you up to 28% on your energy bills, even more with higher SEER ratings.

R22 Air Conditioner Service in Mesa AZ

At Mason Mechanical, we can help you with all your air conditioning needs, even if you own an older unit that uses R22. If you want to continue using your older unit, we can service it and replace the refrigerant with recycled R22. If you are ready to upgrade to a more efficient model, we have many excellent choices available. Contact us today to learn more.