R-22 Freon “Refrigerant” Phase-Out

As of January 1st, 2020, the manufacture and import of R-22 freon “refrigerant” will be illegal in the United States. This doesn’t mean that R-22 can’t be used anymore, or that machines that utilise R-22 must be immediately replaced; it simply means that only recovered, recycled, or reclaimed R-22 supplies will be available for use.

Before the phase-out date, it will be helpful for homeowners and commercial property owners to check the state of their refrigeration and air conditioning units to see if they use R-22. With the January 1st, 2020, date approaching, there will be increased demand for repairs and replacements for existing units. Here’s how the R-22 phase-out could affect you and your business in 2020 and beyond.


What is R-22?

R-22 is a refrigerant compound, also known as Freon. R-22 is commonly used in air conditioning units and other cooling equipment. The Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out the manufacture and import of R-22 because it is a chemical that contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer protecting Earth’s atmosphere.


How does the phase out of R-22 affect you?

The phasing out of R-22 can be a useful time to check out the lifespan of your existing cooling units, like air conditioners or commercial refrigerators, that use R-22. At this time it would be helpful to know if your unit could be retrofitted to use a more ozone-friendly replacement to R-22.

Of course, the ban on R-22 doesn’t mean you can’t still use your existing units; it just means that, at a certain point, it will be easier and cheaper to replace your older, R-22 units with newer, more energy efficient models.

Additionally, R-22 supplies will become more scarce after the 2020 ban. Cost of repairs and servicing these older units could increase. The regular maintenance of current units can keep them working longer and better so you don’t have to replace them right away. New units that use R-22 won’t be manufactured anymore under this new rule.


Alternatives to R-22 Freon

There are EPA-approved alternatives to R-22. Replacing your old air conditioner with a newer model can help decrease your energy costs, improve your unit’s efficiency at cooling, and use a better chemical coolant than R-22. One such alternative is R-410A, a coolant similar to R-22 without the ozone-depleting side effect.

Some older units may be able to be retrofitted to work with an approved refrigerant alternative that isn’t R-22. You can find out if your unit is able to use another refrigerant by having it looked at by a licensed and qualified HVAC expert. They will be able to best determine if your unit is able to be retrofitted or if it is in your best interest to replace your unit with another, more modern piece of equipment.

For more information: Phasing Out HCFC Refrigerants To Protect The Ozone Layer