If your air conditioner uses the refrigerant R-22 (AKA. Freon), you have probably gotten wind of the ban on R-22 production that’s starting in 2020. To help clarify what owners of R-22-dependent air conditioners can expect in the coming years, we’ve put together this list of FAQ about the R-22 phaseout.
Q: What will the R-22 ban in 2020 include?
A: The ban on R-22 will make it illegal for domestic chemical manufacturers to produce new R-22. It will also make it illegal for new R-22 to be imported into the U.S. The ban does not restrict the use of pre-existing supplies of R-22.
Q: Will I have to replace my air conditioner if it uses R-22 once the ban takes place?
A: No, you will not be forced by law to replaced your air conditioner in 2020 if it uses R-22. You will legally be able to operate your air conditioner just like you have before.
Q: Can my air conditioner be repaired with R-22 once the ban takes place?
A: You will legally still be allowed to get your air conditioner repaired with R-22 even while the ban is in place. The ban specifically restricts the manufacturing and importing of new R-22 and does not restrict repairs completed with existing supplies of R-22.
It is important to note, however, that because R-22 is being phased out, this refrigerant is going to become increasingly difficult to obtain. As more and more of the existing supplies of R-22 dwindle, the price of the refrigerant will increase.
Q: Why is R-22 being phased out?
A: A number of countries have agreed to phase out R-22 in favor of refrigerants that are better for the environment, specifically Earth’s ozone layer. R-22 is an ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), and its phaseout is part of a larger international effort to phase out HCFCs completely by 2030.
Q: Can I change the refrigerant that my air conditioner uses to something other than R-22?
A: Your air conditioner will not be able to accept any refrigerant but the one type it was designed to handle. While it’s possible to retrofit some air conditioners so that they can accept R-410A (a refrigerant approved by the EPA) the cost may outweigh the benefits of simply upgrading to a contemporary, energy-efficient air conditioner.
Even an EPA-approved refrigerant can be dangerous to the environment and human health if handled without professional training. At Moe Plumbing Services, our AC technicians have the qualifications to assist you with any AC repair or replacement and to offer trustworthy recommendations. Contact us today at (818) 396-8002.