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Why is R22 refrigerant being phased out?

The Environmental Protection Agency has decided to gradually phase out use of R22 refrigerant because it has a destructive impact on the ozone layer that surrounds the Earth, protecting us from ultraviolet radiation.

If your air conditioner is more than a decade old, then it is highly likely that it runs on a substance called R22 refrigerant, otherwise known as freon. As of January 1, 2020, R22 will no longer be produced in the United States. That’s not all: R22 can also no longer be imported. So, what does this mean for you, if you have an air conditioner that uses R22? Will you still be able to get the refrigerant you need? Do you need to replace your air conditioner? Intelligent Design is here with the answers to all of your questions about the R22 phaseout.

Will the price of my refrigerant go up because of the R22 phaseout?

While R22 is still legal, it is no longer being manufactured domestically, and it can’t be imported from other countries. Thus, there is now a finite supply of R22 in the United States. While the price has remained stable, it is possible that the cost of R22 will increase in the future due to diminished supplies. However, no one knows when—or if—this will happen. As more homeowners decide to replace their air conditioning units, it is possible that demand for R22 will never exceed the available supply.

Is R22 refrigerant now illegal to use?

While you may have heard people talk about the “freon ban,” R22 is still legal to use in your air conditioner. You will not be penalized in any way for continuing to use an air conditioner that runs on R22. In any case you should trust a professional to assess your system to determine any needed changes in the future before these potential penalties become reality.


If my air conditioner uses R22 refrigerant, should I replace it?

We are not recommending that you replace your old air conditioner simply because of the R22 phaseout. If your air conditioner does use R22, however, then it is a decade or more old. When units have been in use for that long, they begin to show their age. It is possible that your air conditioner will begin to require more frequent repairs, or that it may break down more often. If that happens, then replacing it may be more cost-effective than continuing to maintain it.

If you have any more questions about the R22 ban, then feel free to get in touch with the team here at Intelligent Design in Tucson! You can always reach us at (520) 214-8811 for the heating and air conditioning services you need.

How can I tell if my air conditioner uses R22 refrigerant?

If your air conditioner was manufactured before 2010, then it probably uses R22. However, if you want to confirm that this is the case, then ask an HVAC professional to look at your unit. Intelligent Design would be happy to come out and take a look for you at no charge. While we are there we can give you any and all options you have to replace update the system.


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