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What the R-22 Refrigerant Phaseout Means for AC Owners in 2020

If you own an air conditioning system, you probably are aware that it needs refrigerant in order to supply you with cool air. What many people don’t consider is exactly what type of refrigerant their air conditioner uses. For those who own air conditioners that use the refrigerant R-22 (AKA. Freon), 2020 is bringing with it a notable change: a ban on the production and import of this refrigerant.

Below, we’ll go into more detail about the upcoming restrictions surrounding R-22, why the R-22 phaseout is occurring, how to tell if your air conditioner uses R-22, and the changes that AC owners can expect to occur after 2020 arrives.

What the R-22 Ban Restricts

Once 2020 arrives, these restrictions surrounding R-22 will go into effect.

  • Domestic chemical manufacturers will be prohibited from producing any new R-22.

  • It will be illegal to import any new R-22 into the United States.

Contrary to rumors going around, you will not be required to turn in or throw out your air conditioner if it uses R-22. In the United States, you will still be allowed to operate your R-22-dependent air conditioner, and you will still be allowed to get it serviced with any existing supplies of already-manufactured R-22.

The Reason for the R-22 Phaseout

R-22 is commonly known as Freon, but it also goes by another name: HCFC-22. HCFC-22 has been discovered to be an ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbon. For this reason, the United States and a number of other developed countries formed an agreement to phase out HCFC-22 so that it can be replaced by refrigerants that are more environmentally-friendly. This agreement, known as the Montreal Protocol, encompasses a number of changes intended to preserve Earth’s ozone layer.

How to Tell What Kind of Refrigerant Your AC Uses

A quick way to know whether or not your air conditioner uses R-22 is to go by the date it was manufactured. Due to regulations placed on manufacturers, if your air conditioner was manufactured from January 1, 2010, onward, it will not use R-22. Prior to that date, it’s best to check.

To find out what type of refrigerant your air conditioner uses, consult the owner’s manual. If you don’t have the owner’s manual, look for the nameplate on your air conditioner’s outdoor unit. The refrigerant is usually listed there.

If you can’t find the refrigerant listed on the unit, look for the unit’s model number instead. You can use the model number to look up information about the unit on the manufacturer’s website, or you can even call some manufacturers directly.

What Owners of R-22 Air Conditioners Can Expect After 2020 Arrives

Once the ban on the product and import of new R-22 takes place, owners of R-22-dependent air conditioners may not be impacted for quite a while. As stated above, it will still be legal to operate and service R-22-dependent air conditioners, as long as the air conditioner is being serviced with previously-produced, recycled, or reclaimed R-22.

However, the cost of repairs that require R-22 are very likely to increase. As the existing supplies of R-22 shrink, it will become increasingly hard to acquire this refrigerant. While it is possible to retrofit some air conditioners so that they’re able to accept a refrigerant approved by the EPA, it may be a wiser choice to instead invest in a new, energy-efficient unit that will reduce your cooling costs while also causing less environmental impact.

How Falite Bros Can Help

Our AC experts have performed top-notch AC repair and replacement services for the Greater Boston area for more than 45 years. Our technicians have the proper training and certification to handle any AC refrigerant issue. If your older air conditioner is struggling, your Falite Bros technician will always provide you with recommendations that keep your best interests in mind.

Get in touch with us today online or by phone: (781) 262-3348