Refrigerant is what cools the air coming out of your air conditioning unit. If your system is 10 years or older it probably uses a refrigerant called R22. This refrigerant became the main chemical used after its introduction in the 1950s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded in 1970 to protect human health and the environment. Afterwards, many household systems and cleaners were found to have harmful effects on people and the earth.
Under the Clean Air Act, R22 was found to contain an ozone depleting chlorine and the EPA with other groups and agencies started to phase out the refrigerant. In 2015 the production and importation of R22 compatible air conditioning units was prohibited and only what was left in the country could be used. The goal is that by 2020, the United States would no longer need R22. The EPA rules will most likely not apply to HVAC equipment built after 2010. If your unit was purchased before 2010 there are a few options for you to consider as a result of R22 being phased out.
If you are unsure as to how old your unit is, contact us and we will come out to inspect it and be able to assist in what steps you want to take next. You could retrofit your system by changing the parts and making it compatible with new approved refrigerant. However, that is a lengthy process and is not a lasting solution.
Make the Switch
Switching out the parts may give you a few more years with your HVAC unit. You can use R22 until 2020, but costs to service these now outdated units is beginning to rise. You may lose more money sticking it out than making the switch. The best option then may be to purchase a new unit as soon as possible. An upgraded HVAC system will be more environmentally friendly and cut heating and cooling costs as a result of not requiring R22.
Alternatives have been created and one is R-410A, which is a blend of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that don’t harm the atmosphere. The various trade names for this compound are GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, Forane® 410A and Puron®.