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How Does the R-22 Refrigerant Phase-Out Affect You?

What is R-22 Refrigerant?

R-22 refrigerant, commonly known as freon, can be found in air conditioning units. It is used to provide cooling by absorbing the heat from the air so that cool air is dispensed from your unit through the vents in your home.

Why is R-22 Being Phased Out?

About 25 years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated the phase-out of R-22 because it releases gases that deplete Earth’s protective ozone layer and contributes to climate change. Production of new air conditioning units using R-22 ended in 2010. By 2020 servicing of R-22 units and charging the coolant will only be able to be done using recycled or reclaimed refrigerants.

If R-22 is Being Phased Out, What's going to Replace It?

What Does This Mean for My Air Conditioning System?

It depends on the age of your air conditioning system. Air conditioners manufactured before 2010, most likely use R-22, but there’s good news! Your air conditioning system is “grandfathered in.” Existing units that use R-22 can continue to be serviced and recharged with reclaimed R-22 refrigerant (based on availability and finite resources. There is no EPA requirement that homeowners change or convert their air conditioning units.

Hooray! I'm all Set, Right?

So, you own a system manufactured before 2010, and you’re now in the clear, right? Well yes and no. You may remember that earlier in this article we said that the production of R-22 has stopped and that only recycled or reclaimed R-22 may be used? Well, that means the availability of recycled/reclaimed R-22 refrigerant will become more and more scarce. And the increasing scarcity of recycled or reclaimed R-22 on the market means the cost of the refrigerant that is left goes up.Desert Tech Air Conditioning & Heating urge our customers to take the steps necessary to protect their pre-2010 air conditioner from rising refrigerant costs. You can do this by properly maintaining your air conditioning system to increase life expectancy. Be diligent and perform routine system maintenance in the spring and fall. Remember, regular maintenance is less expensive than emergency repairs.

Can't Desert Tech Just Recharge my Pre-2010 Air Conditioner with One of the New Approved Refrigerants?

407C is a drop in replacement. Unfortunately, it affects the overall efficiency and life expectancy of your unit, causing more problems than offering a long term solution. The next logical step would be to use the mainstream 410A refrigerant. Unfortunately, you cannot mix the existing R22 refrigerant with R410.

My Air Conditioning Unit is Pretty Old. Should I Update It or Replace It?

Air conditioners available on the market today use much less energy, provide cost savings in maintenance and electric costs, and offer a “green” alternative to R-22 units. Rebates and tax credits also help to offset the cost of new systems.

It’s always better to replace an older air conditioning system before before being hit with the cost of repairs. You should take into account the age of your current system. The general rule of thumb is that a system older than ten years might be due for replacement. Also, consider how much your older system is costing you in electricity and how much you might save with a higher efficiency system.

I Still Need Help. What Should I Do?

Desert Tech Air Conditioning & Heating has got your back covered. We’re here to help you. We will consult with you and help advise you as to the best choice and course of action. It may best to just continue maintaining your current system, or it might be that the time is right to replace it. As always, Desert Tech strives to help you achieve your goals within your budget. We do not use salespeople, and no employee at Desert Tech receives a commission for sales. We are your partners in helping to keep you cool and comfortable.

If you’re unsure about whether your air conditioning system is older than 2010, want more information, or to schedule your seasonal maintenance, contact us or call (760) 327-2501.

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