With everything that’s been going on this year, your cooling system is probably the last thing on your mind. However, if your current system uses R22 refrigerant, you might want to sit down. Being the bearer of bad news isn’t ideal, but operating an R22 air conditioner was made illegal in the United States earlier this year.
Due to global warming concerns, a number of products that use ozone depleting substances (ODS) are now being phased out of the American marketplace. R22 is just one of the latest to be described as such. While you can still use any leftover refrigerant, this “phase-out” means that your options will be pretty limited if your heating or cooling system needs a repair.
How to Tell What Refrigerant You Use:
To be fair, the EPA has slowly been phasing out R22 cooling systems for the past decade. Ten years before its complete ban, they got started by slowly diminishing further commercial production of both R22 refrigerant and R22 air conditioners. Since then, manufacturers have switched to a different cooling agent.
At the same time though, this means that if your heating or cooling systems (or even your house) were built before 2010, they probably run on R22 refrigerant. If you are unsure, you can always contact a professional HVAC company or simply inspect the labels on your cooling and heating systems.
What Can Phoenix Homeowners Do?
As stated above, the 2020 ban doesn’t mean that you have to completely replace your cooling system. Again, if it’s functioning perfectly fine while using R22 freon then you don’t have to do anything. The problem lies in a potential breakdown situation. If your R22 air conditioner stops working then you could be in quite the pickle. Truth be told, you really only have two options.
1. Maintain/Repair R22 Systems.
Hiring a heating and cooling specialist might sound easy, but unless you’re sitting on a pile of cash, it will be expensive. Since R22 is illegal to import and no longer being produced in the United States, the supply is dwindling every day. In turn, the cost of R22 refrigerant has gone up significantly.
It’s important that Phoenix homeowners understand this because it may seem like the AC company is taking advantage of your outdated R22 AC unit. In reality, the cost of the repair and recharging the system is just a lot more expensive. Although the protection of the environment is a good thing, we understand the cost can be frustrating.
The good news is, you should only need more refrigerant if there’s a leak. Well-maintained systems don’t consume R22. So unless there is a significant issue or major leak, you shouldn’t have to pay for more freon. Just keep in mind that a day will come when a supply of R22 refrigerant won’t be available.
2. Replace Your R22 AC Unit.
Rather than putting off the adjustment and risking an unexpected burden, you could go ahead and replace your HVAC system. If your system has been using R22 refrigerant for more than 10 years old then it has probably seen better days. Instead of than waiting it out, you could invest now and benefit from a newer model sooner than later.
In most cases, an outdated AC unit is costing you money anyways – every single day. Replacing it now means that you won’t have to deal with the inconvenience of a broken system in the dog days of summer in Arizona. It also means you’ll have more time to weigh your options and find the best possible replacement.
3. Is There Anything Better?
If you’re not quite ready to pay for an entirely new system, you could opt for a drop-in replacement. This is the more common name for when an HVAC specialist retrofits your current system with a more modern refrigerant. Before going this route, though, understand that it’s not as simple as switching out the coolant.
A retrofit will require some engineering, and you will be responsible for disposing of R22 refrigerant. Now that it is an illegal substance, we cannot receive and manage this ourselves. While it’s entirely possible to retrofit your current system, it’s not an easy option. Nonetheless, you can always call one of our experts for additional information.
Want Our Expert Cooling Opinion?
If you’re unsure what you should do, the best step you can take is to contact a professional that doesn’t hard press you for a sale. When you speak to someone who knows the industry like the back of their hand, they can advise you on the best possible option while helping you locate the proper equipment.
At Canyon State, we take pride in high quality service. For more information on how the recent ODS ban may affect your R22 AC unit, give us a call or send us an email. At the end of the day, we do our best to help all Phoenix homeowners identify viable heating and cooling solutions.