During the 1970’s scientists discovered various refrigerants were contributing to the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer. This discovery included a coolant known as R-22 or Freon. Government agencies around the world agreed to an international treaty known as the Montreal Protocol which provided plans for a global phase-out of these refrigerants. The regulation lists many HCFCs and CFCs (different types of refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer), but R22 is considered one of the most damaging offenders. In the United States, the Environmental Protection Agency began gradually increasing restrictions on the manufacture, import and use of R-22.
The phase-out plan for the production/import of R-22 began in 2003. R-22 production/import has been gradually reduced each year leading up to 2020 when all production/import of the coolant will be eliminated. After this time only recycled, reclaimed or recovered supplies of R-22 will be available to service existing air conditioners using this coolant; all purchases must be made by a certified technician. However, once this supply runs out, it is out.
How does this affect you and your family?
For homes with systems purchased and installed before 2010 the likelihood you have a system in your home that does not use R-22 is great. If you have an HVAC system purchased and installed before 2010, you will most likely need a solution to address the R-22 issue. The best option is to have your current system thoroughly checked by a professional. Please note, the production (not use) of R-22 is being eliminated. You are not required to stop using existing R-22 HVAC systems or replace existing equipment. However, this phase-out period does offer time to prepare financially and update/replace your system with one that uses the new environmentally-friendly refrigerant R410a, which is usually sold under the brand name Puron though other brand names on the market do exist.
Helpful Tips to Remember
- In the future, R-22 supplies will be limited and costs to service equipment with R-22 will rise. The most important thing to do if you plan to keep your system is maintain your existing unit properly. Appropriate servicing minimizes potential environmental damage and maintenance costs. Make sure to select a reliable service contractor. Technicians are required to have an EPA Section 608 certification to service equipment containing R-22 and must use refrigerant recovery equipment during the service. Be sure to request your service technician locate and repair any leaks versus just refilling a leaking system. This saves you money by ensuring optimal performance of your existing HVAC unit.
- Another option you may hear about/consider is called a “drop-in” replacement for R-22 which at first glance sounds like an economical solution. These solutions can actually be costlier than a new, compliant unit. Additionally, this technique runs the risk of voiding your existing manufacturer warranty because the system is being retrofitted to use NU-22 or Bluon which operates at a different pressure level. This means many critical and expensive parts of your existing system will most likely have to be replaced.
- You may wish to go ahead and replace an existing and/or aging HVAC system. There are benefits to switching to a system that uses R410a including higher energy-efficiency and safety ratings. Additionally, these systems score ZERO on depletion of ozone and will probably offer the best dependability, satisfaction, and long-term comfort.
Discuss pricing options with your HVAC provider if you’re concerned about cost. At LuxeAir we provide financing plans that make replacement a reality all backed by our Luxe-ury guarantee.
Ask us about our Luxe Air Platinum Service Plan!!