If you have an older HVAC system, there are regulatory changes in the works that you must plan for now.
The refrigerant in your air conditioning or heat pump system is responsible for absorbing and releasing heat to and from your indoor and outdoor units. The type of refrigerant you use depends on how long ago your HVAC system was installed. For years, homeowners have used R-22 (also known as Freon) refrigerant in air conditioning systems. However, a phaseout was instituted for this former industry-standard refrigerant due to its harmful effects on the ozone.
Here's what you need to know:
Beginning in 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) started a complete phaseout of all consumption and production of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), including R-22, under the Clean Air Act.
Effective January 1, 2020, the production and import of the refrigerant will be illegal.
If you have an air conditioner or heat pump that was manufactured prior to 2010, you are most likely using R-22 refrigerant. Check your unit's nameplate on the outdoor condenser or your owners manual to confirm.
Existing stocks of R-22 may be used to service existing equipment.
Although Freon will still be available for servicing equipment, the supply will become more limited and the price will increase.
If you are a homeowner that uses R-22 refrigerant, the ban does not require you to replace a functioning R-22 A/C or heat pump. However, you may need to evaluate your options if your system fails due to a refrigerant leak or compressor failure.
R-22 systems use different parts compared to R-410A systems. Therefore, you cannot replenish R-22 air conditioners with R-410A refrigerants.
R-410A refrigerant (also known as Puron) is the most common non-ozone-depleting alternative for use in residential air conditioning systems.
While servicing your system, it is important to select a reliable service contractor. Technicians must have EPA Section 608 certification to service equipment containing R-22.
If you still have questions, call the professionals at Helms Heating & Air Conditioning in Indian Trail, North Carolina. Our Team can help you develop a game plan to extend the life of your existing system with routine maintenance and/or upgrading to a new, more efficient, R-410A compatible system.