You may have heard in recent years that R22 refrigerant has been banned by the EPA, or that the price of this refrigerant has skyrocketed to unimaginable levels. If you are using an older AC unit that was manufactured before 2010, there’s a good chance that you have R22 in your home, and you will eventually need to make a tough decision about how to get rid of it. Here’s what you need to know:
What is R22 Refrigerant?
R22 is a chemical refrigerant which is used by your air conditioner to transfer heat out of your home and into the air. It is known to be hazardous to the ozone, and recent rulings by the EPA mean that all R22 production will be stopped in 2020.
Why You Need to Know About R22
On your outdoor air conditioner condenser unit, there will be a sticker that tells you what kind of refrigerant your unit uses. If it uses R22, you need to be aware that you will be unable to recharge your unit in the future if it ever develops a leak. Even now, the cost of R22 has jumped to hundreds of dollars per pound, making recharging less cost effective than replacing the unit in many cases. If your unit does use R22, you need to be prepared.
What To Do About It
Currently, the EPA has agreed that homeowners may continue using their R22 conditioners as long as they are in good condition. However, if your unit begins to fail, it may be very difficult to find refrigerant for it at all.
The best case scenario is that you can have the R22 replaced with a more modern refrigerant that is deemed safe by the EPA. There are a handful of replacements that are safe for use in an R22 unit. Otherwise, you will need to look at replacing the entire unit. This is generally the best thing to do if your unit is older than 10 years anyway, as the internal parts will be worn down by this point and require additional repair.
If you are concerned that your old R22 unit is on its way out the door, it is best to call Day and Night Air sooner rather than later. The longer you wait, the more likely you are to get stuck with a unit that doesn’t work during the hottest months of the year. Scheduling a service call in advance can help identify whether or not your unit will require replacement or repair as the weather heats up.