Chemical refrigerant (also known by the brand name Freon) is the lifeblood of your air conditioning system: it’s the fluid that allows for the transfers of heat from the inside of your home to the outside. But refrigerant isn’t a single type of chemical blend. Over the more than a century that electro-mechanical air conditioners have been around, many different chemical blends have served as refrigerant. A blend called R-22 was the most common refrigerant in residential ACs for many decades. However, R-22 will not be around much longer, and this may have an effect on your home’s air conditioning.
The R-22 Phaseout
Because R-22 contains ozone-depleting substances such as hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered a gradual phaseout of its use. The timeline calls for a complete end to the production of R-22 by 2020, less than four years away. Current air conditioning system production has already shifted to using a different chemical blend, R-410A. If you have an air conditioning system purchased within the last few years, it will already be using R-410A.
How Does the Phaseout Affect Me?
If you have an older air conditioning system that runs on R-22, you’ll still be allowed to keep your system after 2020. However, repairs will be more difficult because of the halt of production of R-22. The chemical will still be available thanks to recovery and reclamation, but prices will rise. You should start planning to have a new air conditioning system installed in the near future that uses R-410A. You won’t have to worry about the cost of replacing lost refrigerant, and you’ll have a much more efficient air conditioner.
If you still want to use your R-22 system, make sure that you are diligent with regular professional maintenance so technicians can catch leaks before they turn serious.
Need help making a choice about your old air conditioning system? Call Kilowatt Heating, Air Conditioning and Electrical. We offer service to Woodland Hills, CA and throughout Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley.