As the world has become more aware and concerned about the environment, eliminating ozone-depleting materials from our environment has become an important issue. One of these materials is the most commonly used refrigerant for air conditioners, R-22 (Freon). The problem is that R-22 is an HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) compound that contains chlorine which depletes ozone. Since the ozone layer protects us from deadly radiation from the sun, world leaders have agreed to phase out the production of R-22 in favor of alternative refrigerants.

However, the R-22 refrigerant phaseout has and will cause future complications for air conditioning manufacturers, HVAC technicians and homeowners alike. For instance, since 2010, manufacturers in the U.S. are prohibited from using R-22 in their new systems. Therefore, they have developed new systems that require alternative refrigerants, such as R-410A. However, you should be aware that if you currently own a system that uses R-22, you cannot use R-410A, as it requires a higher pressure than air conditioners built to use R-22 can provide.

Taking this into account, if your current air conditioner needs a recharge of refrigerant, supplies of R-22 will continue to deplete until 2020 when it will only be available after being recycled or reclaimed. If you begin having problems with an older system you will need to evaluate your options. Deciding to go with a repair could be less costly in the short term, but may prove to cause frustration later as the supply of R-22 dwindles further. If you are able, you may want to upgrade to a completely new system that uses R-410A, forgoing any complications in the future.

Replacing your current system with one that uses R-410A has many long-term benefits. For one thing, you will no longer need to worry about refrigerant availability. Also, you can be assured that you will not be contributing to the depletion of the ozone layer if your refrigerant happens to leak into the atmosphere.

If you have more questions about the R-22 refrigerant phaseout, feel free to contact the professionals at Stack Heating & Cooling, proudly serving the greater Cleveland area since 1976.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Cleveland, Ohio about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about R-22 refrigerant and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

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