At the beginning of 2010, manufacturers stopped using R-22 in new HVAC equipment. This was the start of a gradual phase-out being overseen by the EPA. If you live in Lewistown, PA and your air conditioner runs on R-22, here’s what you need to know.Older HVAC Systems Use R-22?
From the 1950s through 2010, R-22 was the most common refrigerant in residential HVAC systems. This gas is also called HCFC-22 because it’s a hydrochlorofluorocarbon. Eventually, scientists realized that these chemicals damage the atmosphere’s protective ozone layer. In the 1990s, several nations, including the United States, developed a collaborative plan for reducing their use of ozone-depleting substances, including HCFC-22.
How the R-22 Phase-out Impacts Homeowners
We’re currently in the second part of the R-22 phase-out created through the Montreal Protocol. Until 2015, manufacturers were allowed to make some old-style HVAC components to keep existing systems running, but that’s no longer the case. Today, companies can only manufacture and import a limited amount of R-22 to service equipment installed before 2010, but even that window is closing.
On January 1, 2020, a complete ban on the manufacture and importation of R-22 will go into effect. At that point, you must rely on stockpiles of reclaimed refrigerant. As the inventory declines, prices are expected to increase. Unfortunately, existing systems aren’t compatible with alternative refrigerants, so there’s no way to convert them. The best option is to focus on maintenance.
Servicing R-22 Systems Through the Phase-out
To keep your existing cooling equipment running optimally, schedule AC tune-ups so that your technician can catch leaks before they require costly air conditioning repairs. While the new R-410A refrigerant doesn’t damage the ozone layer, it is a powerful greenhouse gas, so maintaining your equipment is still important for the environment.
If you’re not sure whether your system uses the new or old kind of refrigerant, call Triangle Heating & Cooling at (814) 219-8113. We’ll be happy to schedule an appointment or answer any questions you have.