Ozone layer protection is part of our everyday life here on planet Earth, but most of us may not even think about this on a daily basis. As of January 1, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) declared R22 refrigerant illegal for manufacture or import to the United States because of the damage it is doing to the ozone layer.

What does this phaseout mean for you?

If you don’t have a newer HVAC system, your home probably relies on R22 for air cooling. And if you need maintenance or repair that involves refrigerant, you could be looking at an entirely new install (note: homes and businesses that rely on R22 right now and are functioning correctly are all grandfathered into the phaseout).

What Exactly Is Refrigerant?

Refrigerant (in the United States this is usually R22, also known as freon) is the chemical compound that flows through the coils on your HVAC unit. This refrigerant absorbs warm air and transitions from a gas to a liquid. As your A/C fan exhausts the cooled air back into your home, R22 components are released into the outside atmosphere, eventually damaging the ozone layer.

The EPA is not requiring homes and businesses to replace functioning HVAC units that rely on R22. But if your system needs a repair involving R22, it’s best to know your options now to be prepared for the future. By 2030 there will be a complete ban on the use of R22, and all HVAC equipment utilizing R22 will need to be replaced.

Option 1: Repairs

While ,,repairing an HVAC issue sounds more convenient than a total overhaul, because manufacture or import of R22 is now outlawed, depleting stocks of available R22 will skyrocket in price as demand exceeds production. Only recycled, reclaimed, or previously produced R22 is currently available. Therefore, a repair may be just as expensive as a replacement!

Option 2: Replacement

Eventually, we all need to ,,replace our HVAC systems. If you have an older system in place, there are all sorts of new energy-efficient and environmentally friendly install options. Contact us today by phone or online for a free quote – proper professional maintenance and troubleshooting help your HVAC perform at optimal levels, and we can detect small problems that can turn into major fixes later!

Option 3: Alternatives

Be wary of what’s known as “drop-in replacements”. R22 cannot simply be replaced by another refrigerant unless your system is fitted with new components. By using any other refrigerant than what is listed on the unit nameplate, you can void the safety certification or warranty of a system. This could end up costing you much more money in the long run. When you think of it, go outside and look at the exterior unit of your air conditioner. If you see R22, you are running your HVAC system with an outdated, environmentally hazardous refrigerant. Consult with Outstanding Heating and Cooling today about any potential concerns in regards to R22 before you need a repair! We offer free estimates and accurate sizing for your home or business. There are several options on the market to upgrade and replace.

Updated 4/2022