R22 Refrigerant Phase Out: How Does It Affect Your HVAC System?

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Did you know that in some areas of the world, the ozone has depleted as much as 65%? Or that the ozone hole grew to a whopping size of 25 million square kilometers?

Scary, right?

But there’s also some good news. Ever since the amendment of the Montreal Protocol, that hole has continued to shrink. After all, the law addressed the primary culprit of ozone depletion: chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), especially hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs).

This law mandated the HCFC-22 or R22 refrigerant phase out. It may sound like a foreign term, but to average consumers, it’s what you refer to as “Freon.”

Yes, it’s the same chemical that lets air conditioners cool the inside of homes and vehicles down. So, this means that the R22 phase out has the potential of affecting you, especially if you have an old HVAC.

Read on to find out how exactly the law impacts you!

The Legal Side of the R22 Refrigerant Phase Out

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, production and importing of R22 will cease come January 01, 2020. When this R22 phase out schedule comes, manufacturers (of both the chemical and appliances that use it) can no longer produce nor sell it.

Some R22 supplies will remain though. But these only include “recovered, recycled, or reclaimed” materials.

What This Means to Consumers

Because manufacturing companies can’t manufacture the R22 refrigerant for HVAC systems in 2020, it’ll lead to supply scarcity. As supply rates go down, you can then expect their cost to go up.

In other words, you’ll find it more expensive to have an old R22-using air conditioner repaired or maintained.

For instance, let’s say your AC is running out of refrigerant.

Today, you’ll have to pay about $160 to $400 to recharge an R-22 AC. That’s already a lot of money, right? But by 2020, you can expect these rates to skyrocket.

Getting Those Repairs and Servicing Done Now

Another way to avoid the exorbitant rates that next year’s phase out will bring is to have your AC serviced now. Besides, doing so won’t only let you enjoy lower costs, but also make the equipment perform better and in a more efficient manner.

An in case you don’t have the budget to switch to an ozone-friendlier HVAC system, you can still prolong the use of your current one. That requires you to keep the equipment well-maintained though, which you can do through these tips.

Indeed, the R22 phase out won’t require you to change your AC now. However, you should still save up for an eco-friendlier replacement now, not only to save money, but the ozone layer too.

Is HVAC Replacement Required?

To be clear, the R22 refrigerant phase out doesn’t require you to replace your Freon-using air conditioner. It does, however, give you enough time to make the switch to refrigerants that don’t damage the ozone.

Of course, if you have the budget, then it’s much better to upgrade to a new air conditioner. It will cost you more upfront, but it can also cut your cooling costs by as much as 50%.

Need more help and guidance with your HVAC system? Then please feel free to check our Tips & News page out!

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