If you don’t keep on top of your HVAC industry news (though who doesn’t), you might not know that one of the most popular air conditioner refrigerants, known as R-22, is in the process of being phased out in favor of the more environmentally friendly R-410a refrigerant. You might also not know that this could affect you in a big way! Read on to learn more about what the R-22 phaseout means for you, and what, if anything, you need to do about it!
First, a Little Background
In 1987, an international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol put in place environmental requirements that started with the worldwide phaseout of ozone-depleting CFCs and eventually evolved into a phaseout of less damaging HCFCs. R-22, then a common refrigerant for residential heat pumps and air conditioners, fell under the category of HCFC and, as such, is currently being phased out. At Michael Bonsby Heating & Air Conditioning, we want to make sure everyone has the right information about how much longer R-22 will be available for use in air conditioners and heat pumps. Read on to find out more about the new conditions and how they affect your air conditioner service!
Phaseout Schedule for HCFCs, Including R-22
January 1, 2004 – reduce consumption of HCFCs by 35 percent below the previously established baseline cap.
January 1, 2010 – reduce consumption of HCFCs by 75 percent below the US baseline. Unused R-22 no longer allowed to be used in new HVAC equipment.
January 1, 2015 – reduce consumption of HCFCs by 90 percent below the US baseline.
January 1, 2020 – reduce consumption of HCFCs by 99.5 percent below the US baseline. Recycled and reclaimed HCFCs can still be used in existing systems, but no new R-22 can be produced.
What does the R-22 phaseout mean for you?
Availability of R-22
Since the Montreal Protocol specifies that no new R-22 can be vented into the atmosphere during installation, service or replacement of HVAC equipment, the refrigerant must be recovered and recycled for use in the same system, reclaimed and processed up to the same level of purity as new R-22, or destroyed. Starting in 2020, service of R-22 based systems will rely exclusively on recycled or reclaimed refrigerant (and will likely become much more expensive).
Air Conditioner Service with R-22
If you currently have an air conditioner that uses R-22, you can still have it serviced with existing R-22, as there is no EPA requirement to change or convert units that use R-22 with those that use a non-ozone-depleting substitute.
New Air Conditioner Installation with R-22
If you want to upgrade your air conditioner or heat pump with a new system that uses a more environmentally friendly refrigerant, you will likely need to replace both the evaporator and compressor.
If you have an air conditioner that uses R-22, Michael Bonsby Heating & Air Conditioning can still service it to make sure it will keep you cool all summer long. And if you’re looking for an air conditioner upgrade that uses a more environmentally friendly refrigerant, call us today!