What Will Happen to R22 and How Does it Affect You Published on May 17, 2016 If your air conditioner was installed before 2010 and you don’t know what R22 is then you should probably learn. Refrigerant is what makes the air coming from your air conditioner cool, so it’s obviously incredibly important. Most air conditioners older than 10 years use an air conditioning refrigerant called R22. This refrigerant was introduced in the 1950s and became the primary AC refrigerant in the residential heating and air conditioning industry. By the 1980s the world realized that R22 refrigerants were contributing to the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer. Not cool. So the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with other agencies and organizations, began a phase-out of many ozone-depleting agents, including R22 refrigerant. By the beginning of 2010 the production and import of R22 would be prohibited. The loophole was current equipment were excluded from the ban. So the creation and import was discontinued, but R22 could still be sold and used until the start of 2015. Then, by 2020, R22 would pretty much no longer be utilized, at least in the U.S. So here’s a short recap before we get into what this means for you: R22 is not in production anymore in North America You can access recycled R22 now to service existing heating and air conditioning equipment that uses this certain air conditioner refrigerant The amount charged for R22 is rising because of the short supply, and will not be available by 2020 So what does that mean for you? If your heating and cooling equipment was made after January 2010, you are most likely not affected by the EPA refrigerant rules and regulations. If your heating and air conditioning equipment is older than that, particularly if it’s older than ten years, you have a couple options: 1) Purchase an upgraded, more environmentally-friendly system, which uses the approved air conditioner refrigerant. 2) Replace parts in your current system to make it compatible with approved AC refrigerant. This is not recommended and may void any remaining warranties. 3) Keep on using recycled R22 until 2020. The easiest option is to purchase a new, upgraded air conditioner, particularly if your current AC system is already over 10 years old. While making an unexpected purchase may not be the easiest decision, Mountainwest Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning has many financing options that help make the purchase truly affordable. A new HVAC unit will also be more efficient and deliver superior comfort, helping to lower your utility costs. The next choice would vary in price and isn’t a permanent option. You could have your equipment retrofitted by a heating and air conditioning expert and move over to an approved air conditioning refrigerant. This involves quite a bit more than just flushing out the air conditioner and adding new air conditioning refrigerant; it also requires new parts for the system. Your manufacturer will most likely not reimburse you for the parts to make this transition because retrofitting your air conditioner will likely void the warranty. It’s also not a long-term answer and may only give you a couple more years of use. It’s a temporary fix, and could be less expensive than a new air conditioning unit today, but the investment in a new upgraded AC system will probably benefit most homeowners in maintainability, peace-of-mind, and long-term comfort. The last option is to stay the status quo. You can keep using recycled R22 air conditioning refrigerant for the foreseeable future. While this sounds like a great alternative, you encounter a few issues. The cost of servicing old R22 AC equipment is starting to exceed several hundred dollars (easily a down payment on a new AC system). You could also see the prices rise as demand continues to rise on a chemical that is no longer manufactured or widely available. If you aren’t positive what type of AC refrigerant your HVAC system uses, we are available to help. Call Mountainwest Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today and we can perform an inspection to verify if you are currently using R22 and, if so, which plan of action works best for you. Does Your HVAC Equipment Use R-22? If you have an AC that was designed before 2010, your AC unit will almost definitely have R-22. Although, if you installed your air conditioner after January 1, 2010, then your system probably doesn't have any R22. You can see the type of refrigerant your AC has by checking the appliance’s nameplate. This nameplate is typically installed on the outdoor condenser of your central air conditioning system. Alternatively, you can read your user’s manual or get in touch with your local Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) service company. We know that the process of switching over to an approved AC refrigerant can be frustrating, but it’s saving the environment and saving our air.