R-22, also called Freon, is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon compound that is known to deplete the ozone layer. Because of this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) of the United States and similar agencies in other nations have phased out its production and importation. While R-22 is not currently illegal, if you have an old air conditioner or heat pump, there are a few things you should know about this phase-out and how it could affect your comfort.
If your older cooling system or heat pump needs a repair related to the refrigerant, the repair could be more expensive. This is because no new R-22 is being made, and companies can no longer import it into the United States. If your air conditioner or heat pump has a leak, it may also cost more to recover what remains of the R-22. The recovery fee is higher because of the limited safe disposal options accepted by the EPA.
Recharging of an old air conditioner or heat pump that has a refrigerant leak will be more expensive due to the limited availability of existing R-22 stocks. When HVAC companies run out, they may not be able to recharge it at all. In some cases, a retrofit to R-410a might be an option, but this can only be done by experienced HVAC technicians. The manufacturer’s warranty might be voided by performing such a retrofit.
Replacement of Your HVAC System
When R-22 is no longer available, a cooling system replacement may be your only option in order to maintain comfort. R-22 has not been used in new cooling systems and heat pumps for more than 10 years. The lifespan of an air conditioner or heat pump is about 10 years, so a system still using R-22 is due to be replaced.
For more information about how the phase-out of R-22 refrigerants could affect your air conditioning system or heat pump, check out North Tarrant Heating & Air’s air conditioning repair services or give our office a call.