The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has classified refrigerant R-22 as an Ozone Depleting Substance (ODS) and extremely harmful to our environment. ODS’s pose a high threat to our stratosphere ozone layer endangering life on earth by making all plants, animals and humans more vulnerable to the sun’s ultraviolet radiation. Since 1995 R-22 has been getting phased out from being the reliable go-to refrigerant for your home air-conditioning unit or heat pump.
Because of this, R-22 or better known commonly as Freon, will be removed from the market entirely which will affect homeowners and business owners across the United States. The R-22 Freon phase out is coming and will be here to stay.
Several regulation and compliance dates have already passed and we are now nearing the end of the run for R-22 which will cease to be manufactured on January 1, 2020.If you have appliances or HVAC systems that utilize R-22 Freon and they are 10 years or older, you will still be able to run them passed January 1, 2020, however finding more could be very difficult with the Freon Phase out. R-22 Freon will be expensive due to its limited amount to go around.
This year R-22 Freon availability drops to a total of 4 million pounds, which is less than half from the 9 million that was available on the market in 2018. The only material left once the January 2020 R-22 Freon Phase Out is in full swing will be material that has been reused or recycled. Within ten years by 2030, all R-22 Freon must have been destroyed within disposable guidelines set forth by the U.S. government.
If your air-conditioner or heater suffers a leak or you need Freon refills, you could be paying an arm and a leg. With no more being produced, you will have to make a decision about what you want to do either for your home or your business property.
An air-conditioning unit or heat pump has the life expectancy of about 15 years. Existing units using R-22 will still be able to be serviced but with a limited supply the price will increase to almost double the cost until there is no supply left. There have been alternative refrigerants made available to R-22 such as R422B or R410A (more environmentally friendly products), but you cannot mix the refrigerants. Replacing R-22 with the new refrigerants will come at a cost for draining and disposing of materials, and some units may not be compatible to even use the alternatives.
So What Does This Mean For You?
If you have an older unit and you still utilize R-22 Freon, you should consider investing in new HVAC technology that not only will save you money on your energy bills, but will also increase the value of your property or home. You can still ride the Freon wave for a while longer, but this isn’t some weird chemistry experiment that has nothing to do with you. It’s time to think about how this phase-out will affect your life, and that means staying cool and warm.
The Quick Fix
– Retrofitting isn’t the best option because some HVAC systems may be so old that it’s not worth it, but you can still survive this way. A higher quality retrofit could lower your energy bills in the long run but may be pretty expensive.
– You can replace your outdoor unit while leaving the older indoor unit components in place. This only works if the indoor coils are R410A compatible. (if you don’t know what that means don’t worry, call us- we can explain!)
– If you need to fix a broken compressor in the outdoor unit, you can try to substitute a similar model but this fix will be short-lived until the Freon well goes dry.
Get A New One
– If your unit is 15 years or older you should consider all the financial benefits of updating your HVAC technology. There are plenty of energy efficient systems and units on the market to choose from. Call Accurate so we can help you find the best fit unit for your home and assist you with the installation process. Proper installation will ensure your unit is set up so it functions efficiently to avoid paying high utility.
– If you see your energy bills have been increasing year after year or rapidly, this could mean your system is working harder than it should. You should consider a replacement.
– Constantly having problems with your heater or air-conditioner? Start pricing out a new system for your home and remember, we can help.
– If you are a business owner or facility manager, you can actually get a tax break with a replacement: https://youtu.be/uKt9GdacAhE
The Risky Ending
Or, just don’t do anything. Remember the Seinfeld episode where Kramer wants to see how far he can drive his car while the gas gage shows empty? You could just run your system into the ground or until you can’t get Freon anymore. We don’t advise it, but if you don’t do anything you might be scrambling later when it’s too hot or too cold.
Regardless of where you stand on the Global Warming debate, environmentally speaking, the disposal of R-22 Freon from the market will actually help the environment and it will thrust us into new efficient technology that will end up saving us money. New HVAC units and systems are designed to use less power so in the long run, while a replacement sounds expensive, you are actually making a really beneficial investment. You don’t have to get a replacement and we at Accurate will always lay every single option you have on the table. We can help you retrofit an old unit, install a new one or help you search the market for the right system. We want to put you in the position where you won’t need R-22 to cool off on those hot days in SoCal.