Thereâ€™s a good chance that for the past few years youâ€™ve been hearing HVAC contractors talking about the R-22 phaseout, or the â€œFreonâ€ phaseoutâ€”especially if you own an AC system that still relies on it. But what even is the phaseout? And how does it impact you? Chapman Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing is here to clue you in!
What Is R-22 Refrigerant?
Nearly all modern cooling systems rely on a refrigerant loop in order to cool homes. The refrigerant cycles between the evaporator, condenser, and the compressor in order to, essentially, move warm air out of your home to replace it with cool air. There are many different types of refrigerant, and for a very long time, the most commonly used of these was the chemical R-22â€”commonly known under the name of the company that produced it, Freon.
In terms of efficiency and production speed, R-22 was great. However, it is also an HFC (hydrofluorocarbon), which has been identified as a major contributor to ozone depletion among other problems including high toxicity, and a tendency to degrade.
What Is the Phaseout, and What Does it Mean for Me?
Because of the sheer weight of its negative properties, and the impact is it having on our environment, the EPA selected to steadily remove the use of Freon in an R-22 refrigerant phaseout. In fact, nations worldwide are following suit in what is known as the Montreal Protocol agreement. The process has been a slow and steady one, starting back in 2010, and by 2020 (next year!) R-22 will no longer be accessible to anyone, either via production or import.
What this means for you as a homeowner, is that if your current air conditioner or heat pump uses R-22 refrigerant still, then it is going to become exponentially more difficult (and more expensive) to find replacement refrigerant, and it may be wise to talk to your contractor about an AC replacement.
Do I Need to Replace My Air Conditioner Right Now if I Use R-22?
The answer will partially depend on when your cooling system was installed. Any system installed before 2010 is likely to be using R-22, while more recent systems could be using alternatives. But if you know that youâ€™re using R-22, your answer is this:
Not immediately, noâ€”but there are some things you need to be aware of going forward. The price of R-22 has skyrocketed in the past decade, and itâ€™s becoming scarce already. This means:
- Refrigerant leaks are going to become prohibitively expensive.
- In a few years replacing your refrigerant will become impossible without a retrofit.
However, this is not all bad news! In fact, you stand to gain substantially from replacing soon. The available alternatives for R-22 use more modern technology and options like R410a have already shown advantages in system efficiency and performance. Add in the fact that an AC system installed 10+ years ago is already approaching the due date for a replacement, and youâ€™re in a solid position to replace your air conditioner at just the right timeâ€”and just in time.
Contact Chapman for Professional AC Replacement in Marion County Before R-22 is Gone for Good!
At Chapman, we make it our business to provide clients with affordable, professional services and solutions. If youâ€™re looking to dodge the upcoming surge in the cost of repairing a unit that uses R-22, we can help! Our AC installation services work to save you stress and money.
Call 317-291-4909 today to speak with an HVAC contractor in Indianapolis about your options, or schedule a consultation online!