What Every Homeowner Should Know: Government to Take A/C Refrigerant Off Market

Have you heard about the government phase-out of certain HCFCs (Class II Ozone-Depleting Substances)? Those very complex sounding initials and terms actually cover a lot of substances, but the one that’s most pertinent to this report relates to a product that the majority of Americans find to be cooling comfort in the summer months: HCFC-22.

The a/c refrigerant that’s been in use in most central air conditioners over the last 40 years has the chemical designation HCFC-22, is also referred to as R-22, and is also known widely by the brand name Freon.

Regardless of what you call it, here’s what the EPA says: To protect the Earth’s protective ozone layer, the United States is phasing out R-22, along with other chemicals.

As the United States phases out refrigerant R-22, you will need to make informed choices when servicing, repairing, or replacing an existing air-conditioning unit or when purchasing a new unit. EPA has banned the manufacture of new equipment that contains R-22. As a homeowner, you need to consider and balance several key factors in your decision to purchase a new unit, such as energy efficiency, performance, reliability, cost, and the refrigerant used.

The lengthy phaseout period allows you to replace your air-conditioning equipment that contains R-22 when you normally would, for instance if it becomes old, inefficient, or ineffective. Realizing that supplies of R-22 will become more limited and that the price may increase should also be factors. In the meantime, R-22 remains available for servicing equipment made before 2010.

The EPA goes on to say: In 2020, R-22 will no longer be produced or imported. After 2020, only recovered, recycled, or reclaimed supplies of R-22 will be available.

OK. So, while there’s no requirement to stop using the equipment and refrigerant that you are currently using, as the phase-out continues, R-22 will be harder to find and costs will be higher. As a homeowner, that should get you thinking. As you consider the age and efficiency of your equipment, let us help you evaluate the energy use that’s currently taking place in your home – and how the energy savings and efficiency of a new system could continue to provide cool, ozone-friendly comfort in the years to come.

Schedule your energy analysis today. Just call or email, and we’ll take care of you.

We could not be happier with our new furnace, A/C, and zone thermostat. If we had known how much more comfortable these things would make our home, we would have made these purchases sooner. Thank you! —David & Tina B.

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