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R-22 refrigerant was first introduced in the 1930s and became a widespread refrigerant for commercial and residential air conditioning systems in the 1950s. Most systems that are more than a few years old likely use R-22. However, it won’t be long before those systems will need to be replaced with newer ones that use different refrigerant.
The change stems from a federally-mandated phase-out plan enacted by the Environmental Protection Agency years ago that will eventually lead to the ban of R-22 production and usage. Citing R-22’s ozone-damaging properties, the EPA’s ban states that R-22 will cease to be produced after Jan. 1, 2020. This means that if your system is charged with R-22, you need to begin planning for the switchover to systems using more environmentally-friendly refrigerants such as R-410A. While the HVAC industry prepares for the change, R-22 consumption has decreased significantly in recent years. But one effect of the impending ban that impacts consumers is the demand for R-22, which still exceeds available supplies. This has led to price increases that are likely to escalate as the 2020 deadline approaches.
This is important to remember while monitoring your system for any possible refrigerant leaks. If your system is struggling to keep your house cool, you may have a leak and you should schedule immediate service. If your system uses R-22 it can still be serviced and charged until the January 2020 deadline. If replacement of your system is needed, our qualified technicians can help you make a sound decision about replacing your system with a new air conditioner that uses more environmentally-friendly refrigerants such as R410A.
Regular maintenance and tune-ups will also help to detect and prevent leaks. Refrigerant leaks are costly to both your finances and our environment. Also, a fully-charged system runs more efficiently, helping to avoid costly repairs and extending the lifespan of your system.