Was your air conditioner installed before 2010? If so, it might utilize R22, a refrigerant, commonly identified as Freon. R22 is the chemical that removes the heat from your indoor air. As of January 2020, R22 will no longer be available. Most air conditioning units older than 10 years utilize R22. So, it’s undeniably a very important issue for home owners in South Florida!
Several decades ago, the world realized that R22 refrigerant was aiding in the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer. Not a good thing. In fact, it was found to be a very bad thing. So, the U.S. EPA, in cooperation with other agencies and groups from around the world, initiated a phase out of many ozone-depleting agents as part of an international agreement known as the Montreal Protocol. The regulation lists many different types of refrigerants, but R22 is considered to be one of the worst offenders.
The production and import of R22 was scheduled for ongoing reduction by law until 2020, when all production and import will be ended. Only recycled R22 refrigerant will be available to service existing air conditioners after 2020. Please note, however, that in order to buy R22, you would have to be an EPA-certified technician. So, the average homeowner will not be able to purchase a cylinder of Freon. Additionally, there are very strict regulations now on reclaimed and recycled refrigerant.
How Will This Affect You As a Home Owner?
The cost of R22 has dramatically increased because of the declining supply, and new Freon will no longer be available for use at all after 2020. As stated above, the only possible exception will be a very limited recycled quantity of R22. So, you will want to know where you stand.
How Do I Know If My Unit Uses R22?
If your home has an air conditioning system that was built before 2010, your AC could have R22. You can find the type of refrigerant your system runs on by looking at the appliance’s nameplate. The nameplate is usually found on the outdoor condenser of your central air conditioning system. If you can’t find it, it will also be available in your user’s manual. If the manual isn’t available either, you can reach out to CMi’s technicians at 561-844-1004 in Palm Beach County, or 772-283-0096 in Martin County. If you have a maintenance agreement with us, we will also have your information on file and a tech will be able to let you know right away if your unit uses R22.
The HVAC industry has changed from R22 to R410a, which you may recognize by the brand name Puron. There are some valuable benefits to switching from an R22 air conditioning unit to one that uses R410a. First, it provides a higher safety rating than R22 and an ozone depletion rating of zero! R410a also performed slightly better on energy-efficiency tests than R22.
The biggest benefit for home owners will come from purchasing a new upgraded AC system. What home owners will gain in energy cost savings, safety, daily comfort, dependability and overall satisfaction will far outweigh the cost of replacing the ac unit. Plus, at CMi Air Conditioning & Electrical, we provide financing plans that make a replacement feasible, and we will apply any available manufacturer and utility rebates that would make it easier to handle an unexpected replacement cost.
If Your Unit Was Built After 2010, You’re Probably Safe
If your heating and air conditioning system was built after January 2010, the R22 phase out issues may not apply to you. However, some systems installed after 2010 could potentially use R22, so it’s best to check with a CMi HVAC Expert.
To be completely straight forward, the EPA regulates the production and use of the R22 refrigerant, but not your AC system. You aren’t required by law to replace your air conditioner. You should be aware though that at some point, your AC will stop running and it will need to be replaced. Only the R410a units will be available to buy.
If you aren’t confident what type of AC refrigerant your air conditioning system uses, we can help. Contact CMi Air Conditioning & Electrical today and we will set up an inspection to see if you are currently using R22 and, if so, which replacement option works best for you.
The Best News
An efficient new air conditioner will save you money by reducing your electric bill if you have an air conditioner that’s more than 10 years old that utilizes R22. The cash you save each month can be substantial. Retrofitting an older AC unit from R22 to R410a will just wind up costing you a lot more over the long run and ultimately you will have to eventually get a new AC unit anyway.
Also, while making the move to an approved AC refrigerant may somewhat exasperating, it is helping to save the ozone layer which helps block radiation from the sun. Blocking radiation is important in preventing serious illnesses like skin cancer. As a homeowner, you can feel good about being a big part of this effort by replacing an old R22 unit with a new, ozone friendly unit.
If you have any questions, please contact us at your earliest convenience.