If you have an HVAC system that’s more than a few years old, chances are it uses R-22 refrigerant. R-22 was a standard refrigerant in air conditioners for years until January 1st of this year when the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) deemed it illegal to manufacture in the United States. Why was it banned and what are the alternatives?
Found to be extremely hazardous to the environment, R-22 refrigerant is used to cool the air in your HVAC system before it’s circulated through your home. If it leaks out of your system, it can damage the ozone. Additionally, the manufacturer of R-22 releases byproducts into the air that are also extremely harmful.
For these reasons, the EPA has been working to phase out the use of R-22 since 2004. New HVAC systems stopped using R-22 beginning in 2010, only allowing it for the repair of existing units. Now, beginning in 2020, even that option will go away and R-22 will be banned entirely.
If your A/C still runs on R-22 refrigerant, there are a few options to recharge. R-22 that’s been reclaimed from old systems can still be obtained, but it’s scarcity may cause a dramatic increase in price. R-410A is a more environmentally friendly replacement. Beware, though: It’s not necessarily a simple case of swapping out one refrigerant for another, and in many cases, you may need a whole new system.
Also keep in mind that since R-22 hasn’t been used in new units since 2010, in 2020, your system will likely be at least 10 years old, which is close to the age when you should replace your A/C anyway. Rather than paying an exorbitant amount to replace a refrigerant that’s harming the environment, why not invest in a new system that’s more efficient and eco-friendly?
For more R-22 alternatives or advice on switching out your HVAC system entirely, contact us at BOLTON WNC. Western North Carolina’s trusted source for quality home-comfort solutions!