One of the well-documented problems with air conditioning systems is their effect on the atmosphere, and specifically on the ozone layer. In response to this problem, not only have new refrigerant types been developed, but laws have been put in place that phase out the main culprit of these problems: R-22 refrigerant, also known as Freon. Starting in the 1990s, production and use of Freon started to phase out, and as of January 1, 2020, the phase out will be complete. What does this mean for your air conditioner? Our Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning technicians have put together some information below.
What Are the Problems with R-22?
R-22 doesn’t just deplete the ozone: it emits greenhouse gases that contribute heavily to global warming. These are the main reasons for the phase out.
Where Are We in the Phase Out?
As of 2010, air conditioner manufacturers could no longer produce air conditioning systems that use R-22 refrigerant. Additionally, there have been strict quotas placed on the production of R-22. This means that if you have an air conditioner that uses R-22, and you need a recharge, it isn’t as available as it once was, and as a result, costs more money.
What Are the New Types of Refrigerant?
The most commonly-used refrigerant type today is the much more environmentally-friendly R-410A. There are a few brand names that this refrigerant goes by, including Forane 410A, Puron, EcoFluor R410, and Genetron. Other refrigerants are R-410B, R-407 and HFC-134a.
Unfortunately, none of these refrigerants can be used in a system that uses R-22. This is because every air conditioner is made to operate with an exact amount of refrigerant, and an exact kind of refrigerant. As such, recharging a system that uses R-22 with one of the more environmentally-friendly kinds will destroy your system.
What Are My Options?
If your air conditioner doesn’t use R-22 refrigerant, you have nothing to worry about. If it does, you may want to plan for the replacement of your system. You don’t have to replace right away, but as we draw closer to 2020, the availability of R-22 will continue to decrease, which will most likely drive up the price. The bottom line is that you will have to replace your system by 2020, and it’s better to do it with some planning than to feel rushed into replacement.
Have questions about how the R-22 phase out may affect you? Call Russell’s Heating and Air Conditioning and schedule air conditioning service in Yucaipa with one of our experts.