If you’re a homeowner with an older AC system that is 15+ years old, you might have heard about the R-22 phase-out.
R-22 is a refrigerant used in older AC systems and is being phased out because it damages the ozone layer.
Now that you have a basic understanding of the phase-out, you probably have questions like:
- How do I tell if my AC system uses R-22?
- What is happening to R-22?
- How does this phase-out impact me?
Below, we’ll break down the answers and explain how the phase-out might impact you financially.
Rather have an HVAC professional inspect your AC for R-22 and explain your options? Contact Jon Wayne. We have convenient 2-hour appointment windows.
How do I tell if my AC system uses R-22?
To determine if your system uses R-22, you’ll want to look at the label on your outside unit. On the label, next to “FIELD CHARGED,” look for either R-22 or HCFC-22.
If the label says R-22 or HCFC-22, your system runs on R-22 refrigerant.
What’s happening to R-22?
On January 1st, 2020, the EPA released a statement:
"In 2020, R-22 will no longer be produced or imported. After 2020, only recovered, recycled, or reclaimed supplies of R-22 will be available. The production (not use) of R-22 is being phased out. You are not required to stop using R-22 air conditioners nor to replace existing equipment."
Essentially, HVAC manufacturers are no longer allowed to produce R-22. But, it is not illegal to buy or use.
How does this phase-out impact me?
Although HVAC companies can still buy R-22, there is a limited supply since it's no longer being produced. So, eventually, the supply will run out.
Homeowners have three options:
1. Retrofit your current R-22 AC system to use R-410A:
R-410A is a new refrigerant type. It’s environmentally friendly and manufacturers can produce it.
Retrofitting your AC system to use R-410A is the most affordable option of the three. However, this might not be possible for your AC system and also might void your manufacturer's warranty. You’ll want to check with the manufacturer of your AC system to determine whether or not retrofitting your AC system is a good option for you.
2. Continue to maintain your current R-22 AC system:
While you can continue to maintain your current system with R-22, the supply will continue to dwindle until it runs out. While it is still available, you should expect the cost of R-22 to increase as the supply decreases, making refrigerant repairs cost-prohibitive.
3. Replace your AC system with an R-410A AC system:
Over time, as R-22 becomes more scarce, your R-22 AC system will not be able to be repaired anymore and must be replaced.
While it’s expensive to replace your AC system, changing to an R-410A AC system can be cost-effective.
Reminder, if your system uses R-22, it’s likely 10+ years old, which means you'll probably need to replace it in the near future anyway. So, rather than continue to pay for R-22, it may be more cost-effective to replace your entire system now vs. later.
Want to talk to a professional about R-22? Contact Jon Wayne
If you have questions about R-22 and want to know the best option for your budget, contact our team.