If your central air conditioner has needed a refrigerant charge recently, you may have noticed how expensive it is.
The government has mandated that R-22 refrigerant (what most people know as Freon, which is one brand of many) will be phased out slowly over time because it contains ozone-depleting substances. Decreasing the supply of R-22, a refrigerant that many ACs still use, increases the price as a result.
By 2020, R-22 will be completely phased out and won’t be produced. Most new air conditioners and heat pumps will use R-410A refrigerant, which is EPA approved.
So, how else does this R-22 refrigerant phase-out affect you as a New Jersey homeowner? We’ve compiled a few of the common questions people ask about it and answer them here.
Simple, check the sticker/nameplate near the refrigerant line on your outside air conditioning unit. It should say something along the lines of, “Notice: This unit requires service equipment compatible with *refrigerant type*.”
If your air conditioner is 10+ years old, chances are it uses R-22.
No. There’s no law that says you’ll need to replace your air conditioner that still uses R-22.
When 2020 rolls around no more R-22 can be produced. But your old air conditioner can still use recovered, recycled or reclaimed R-22. But it will be super expensive because of how little supply there will be.
But by 2020, chances are you will need a new air conditioner anyway because the typical air conditioner lives about 15 years.
There are alternative replacement refrigerants for R-22 called “drop-ins”. But these substitutes come with some costly caveats:
Yes. R-410A is a completely different refrigerant. You can’t mix it with old refrigerant or use it in an air conditioner or heat pump designed for R-22. So the inside unit’s evaporator coil (that part the refrigerant flows through) will need replacing to match the outside unit.
Look at the bigger picture here. If your air conditioner keeps needing more refrigerant, then you have a refrigerant leak that needs repairing. So you need to answer these question:
Air Professionals is a whole home comfort company serving New Jersey homeowners. Contact us for more information on how we can help improve your home’s comfort.