What Will Happen to R22 and How Does it Affect You Published on May 17, 2016 If you don’t know what R22 is and your air conditioner is five years or older, you should keep reading. Refrigerant is what makes the air coming from your air conditioner cool, so it’s obviously extremely important. Most air conditioners installed in 2010 or before use an A/C refrigerant called R22. This refrigerant was introduced in the 1950s and became the predominant AC refrigerant in the residential heating and air conditioning industry. Fast-forward a few decades and the world realized that R22 refrigerants were furthering the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer. Not cool. So the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, along with other agencies and organizations, began a phase-out of many ozone-depleting agents, including R22 refrigerant. By January 2010 the production and import of R22 would be outlawed. The loophole was existing equipment would have an exception. So the creation and import ended, but R22 was still sold and used until the beginning of 2015. Then, by 2020, R22 would pretty much no longer be used, at least in the U.S. So here’s a brief recap before we get into what this means for you: R22 is no longer manufactured in North AmericaYou can get recycled R22 today to service existing heating and air conditioning equipment that uses this certain air conditioner refrigerantThe amount charged for R22 is getting more expensive because of the short supply, and by 2020 will no longer be available So what do you do? If your HVAC unit was manufactured after January 2010, your system will probably not be affected by the EPA refrigerant rules and regulations. If your heating and air conditioning system was produced prior to January 2010, specifically if it’s older than ten years, you have multiple options: 1) Purchase an upgraded, more environmentally-friendly system, which uses the approved air conditioner refrigerant. 2) Update parts in your current air conditioning system to make it compatible with approved air conditioning refrigerant. We do not recommend this option as it could void your warranty(ies). 3) Keep on using recycled R22 until 2020. The simplest option is to purchase a new, upgraded air conditioner, especially if your current AC system is already over 10 years old. Even though we know making an unexpected purchase may not be the easiest choice, Barlow Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning has a variety of financing options that help make the investment highly affordable. A new piece of AC equipment will also be more efficient and deliver superior comfort, helping to reduce your energy bills. The next alternative would vary in price and isn’t a lasting option. You could have your system retrofitted by a heating and cooling expert and move over to an approved AC refrigerant. This entails quite a bit more than just flushing out the air conditioner and adding new A/C refrigerant; it also means you have to install new parts in the equipment. Your manufacturer will most likely not pay for the parts to make this switch because retrofitting your A/C equipment will likely void the warranty. It’s also not a permanent solution and will most likely only give you up to three more years of use. It’s a short-term fix, and might be less expensive than a new system today, but purchasing a new upgraded AC system will probably benefit most homeowners in maintainability, peace-of-mind, and long-term comfort. The last alternative is to change nothing. You can continue to use recycled R22 air conditioning refrigerant for the foreseeable future. While this sounds like a great alternative, you encounter a few issues. The cost of servicing old R22 A/C systems is starting to exceed several hundred dollars (basically a down payment on a new air conditioning unit). You could also see the prices rise as demand continues to rise on a product that is no longer produced or widely available. If you aren’t positive what type of AC refrigerant your HVAC system uses, we are happy to help. Call Barlow Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today and we can give you an inspection to verify if you are currently using R22 and, if so, which plan of action works best for you. Although the process of switching to an approved AC refrigerant can be frustration, it’s saving the environment and saving our air. We want to see what you’re doing to save the air! Visit SaveTheAir.com and share your story with us for a possibility to be featured on our website.