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R-22 Refrigerant Phaseout: What You Need to Know

AC-manifoldIf you are looking for a new air conditioning installation or replacement in Loveland, CO, then this is a post that you really need to read. Chances are that, if you’ve been shopping around for new systems, you’ve come across some variation of the phrase “R-22 phaseout,” and likely tied to the date of “January 1st, 2020.” Make no mistake about it—this phaseout is a major shakeup for the HVAC industry!

In today’s post, we’ll talk about what R-22 refrigerant is, why your system is so dependent upon refrigerant, and the wider implications of this phaseout. Again, this really is big news and will have far-reaching effects throughout the industry, so definitely contact a member of our team with any questions that you may have. As a homeowner that values your comfort, you’ll want to have a basic understanding of the issue and how it may affect you and your home.

First, What Does Refrigerant Do?

Basically, it allows you to cool your home! Air conditioners cool homes by removing heat from them. To do so, they evaporate refrigerant indoors to remove heat from the air inside. They then condense refrigerant in the air outside in order to release the heat that the refrigerant absorbed inside. The cycle continues until desired temperatures are met.

What Is R-22 Refrigerant?

R-22 was the industry standard for refrigerant up until very recently. If you’ve ever used an air conditioner in your lifetime up until very recently,  then you’ve used R-22 even if you didn’t realize it. R-22 is commonly referred to as Freon, though this is really an umbrella term only specific to R-22.

Why the Phaseout?

R-22 is being phased out due to environmental factors. Specifically, R-22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerant, and is a contributing factor to ozone depletion. Following the phaseout, R-410A will be the new industry standard. This is a more environmentally-friendly refrigerant, and is already used in many newer air conditioning and heat pump systems.

What Does This Mean for Me?

If you have an air conditioning system using R-22 to cool your home, don’t worry—no one is going to tell you that you have to replace that system right now. However, you do need to know that, come the phaseout date, there is a ban on the production and import of R-22 refrigerant. That means that any repairs requiring the correction of your system’s refrigerant charge will be dependent upon existing stockpiles of R-22.

Because production of the refrigerant will cease, prices are likely to go up. That means that now is a great time to make the switch to an R-410A system. If you are thinking about replacing your system anyway, then you definitely want to avoid R-22 systems. If you have a major repair coming up that you’re on the fence about, we’d advise that you really consider replacing the old system with a new model using the new standard refrigerant.

If your air conditioner is working just fine, however, then you don’t have to worry about replacing it now. Just keep in mind that, if you do run into issues in the future, the supply of R-22 may be limited and replacement is likely going to be in your best interest.

Schedule your AC services with Fort Collins Heating & Air Conditioning. Big enough to serve, small enough to care.

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