Keeping cool during the summer is an imperative in the Jacksonville area. That means keeping your air conditioner in good working order and topped up on refrigerant so that sweet, sweet cold air will keep on coming. This year, however, that refrigerant top-off might be a little more of a challenge.
Many air conditioning units utilize a refrigerant called R22. As of January 1st of this year, US consumers and retailers will no longer be allowed to produce, sell, or import R22 refrigerant, which could present complications for those with older HVAC systems. Your local repairman may be able to get more for a while, but once the current stockpile runs out, they will not be able to come by more.
Learn more about the R22 ban and what you can do to prepare for the big shift in refrigerants and maintain your air conditioner in the future!
What is R22 and Why is It Going Away?
Every air conditioner uses a refrigerant to cool down the air that passes through the system. This pressurized liquid allows your HVAC system to cool and heat properly. Without refrigerant, your system won’t be able to do what it was designed to. R22 has been the most popular refrigerant for years. Unfortunately, it comes with a hefty negative impact on the environment.
Because of this, most manufacturers are switching to refrigerants with minimal environmental impact, and the production and import of R22 have been banned. Some repair companies or parts sales outlets may have some stocks of it left, but these will dwindle quickly.
How to Keep Your AC Going When the R22 is Gone
If your air conditioning unit was produced after 2010, you don’t need to worry about the disappearance of R22, as most units produced in that time use alternative refrigerants like R410A.
Homeowners with R22 units are not required to get rid of their working systems. However, should their R22 system spring a leak or should they need a repair that requires more refrigerant or flushing lines, they will have to decide between the following options:
- Refill with R22 - for now. Perhaps you intend to replace your system in a few years anyway, or you just want a little more time before you put more work into your home. R22 supplies will continue to exist for a bit longer, because just like homeowners don’t have to get rid of their R22 systems, suppliers are not required to get rid of R22 they already have. The price is sure to rise, however, as supplies dwindle.
- Retrofit your current air conditioning system. While generally not a cost-effective decision, the option exists to retrofit your current system with a converter that allows the use of another refrigerant. Because other refrigerants don’t operate at the same pressure as R22, this process requires a trained technician to disassemble your unit and replace the components with those that work as needed. This process can often cost more than a new system and is likely only cost-effective if you just purchased the system.
- Replace your old system with a new one. New air conditioning units have several benefits that make this an attractive, economical option. Updated systems were never made to use R22, meaning you avoid expensive retrofits. They run more quietly and efficiently, saving you energy and thus money on each energy bill. A new system will also improve the value of your home should you decide to move or make use of your home equity.
Snyder Heating & Air Conditioning Has You Covered!
Have questions about the R22 phase-out? Want to explore your options for bringing your current system up to snuff? Snyder Heating & Air Conditioning has the answers you’re looking for! Contact us today!