On January 1, 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented a ban on the production and import of R-22 (a common refrigerant used in air conditioning), except for continuing service needs of existing equipment – meaning that new air conditioners made after 1/1/2010 could not contain R-22. R-22 contains chlorine, which is known to damage the ozone layer.
And on January 1, 2020, production of all R-22 refrigerant was banned. The ban doesn’t require you to replace a functioning air conditioner or heat pump. However, it does mean that if your AC or heat pump system needs a repair that involves R22 refrigerant, you can expect very high prices because of the rules of supply and demand. As far less R-22 is available, it’s become much more expensive, leading more people to replace their appliances and equipment.
To remain compliant with the R-22 phase out, manufactures spent several years redesigning and overhauling their equipment to accommodate R-410A, a widely adopted R-22 replacement that does not contain chlorine. If your AC or heat pump was manufactured and installed before January 1, 2010, chances are it uses R-22 refrigerant and replacement should be considered.
Taking care of your home or business when it comes to the R-22 ban might seem complicated. Luckily, the professionals at Howe have all the information you need to make the best decision for your future air conditioning needs. Count on us to help you understand your appliances, how to adapt to the new regulations and laws, and how they affect your home or business. With our help, you’ll have a plan that meets your needs for years to come.
Is R-22 Still Available? What Is R410a?
While we still have access to a small amount of R-22, suppliers everywhere are slowly eliminating the last of their stockpiles. It won’t be long before supplies of R-22 run out for good, and many people still haven’t made the switch to R-410a yet. If you don’t want to risk being stuck without air conditioning because you can’t repair your R-22 system, due to refrigerant availability it’s important to consider making an upgrade.
An Expert’s Opinion
We sat down with one of our service technicians, to give us a better insight into the changes over the last few years.
How can I tell if my HVAC unit has R22 Refrigerant?
The outdoor unit should have a data tag on it. The type of refrigerant used in your system will be listed on this tag.
What changes need to be made right now to my HVAC unit?
None. If your system is in good condition and maintained properly, you will likely get many more years out of it. Most service calls that we go on are electrical problems and don’t require us to add refrigerant.
What is going to be the most cost-effective option for me?
If there is a problem on the refrigerant side, such as a bad compressor or leaks, it doesn’t automatically mean that you need to replace your system. It depends on the situation, but it will usually be more cost effective to repair your existing unit.
If your unit has a history of leaks, it may be best to consider replacement, but a one-time leak is usually worth repairing.
If paying for a new system is a concern, Howe, Inc., offers affordable financing options with low monthly payments. If you qualify, financing may help you fit the purchase of a new AC system into your budget without breaking the bank.
Call or text Howe today at 605-339-2020 to schedule AC service, or if you have any additional questions about the R22 refrigerant ban.