What Does The R22 Phase-Out Mean For Homeowners With Older Air Conditioners?

If you've ever read the label on your air conditioner or done any research into its operation, you may have heard of R22. This is the coolant that was used in air conditioners for many years. If you bought your air conditioner in the 1990s or early 2000s, there's a good chance it runs R22. Unfortunately, this refrigerant is now being phased out in favor of R-401A, a newer refrigerant that's better for the planet. Here's what you need to know as an owner of an older R22 air conditioner.

Can you get an R22 air conditioner repaired?

If your R22 air conditioner breaks, your HVAC technician will likely recommend replacing it rather than repairing it. There are a few reasons for this. First, older air conditioners tend to be prone to frequent breakdowns once they start malfunctioning. It would be silly to spend money on repair after repair when you could replace the AC unit for less. Second, if the issue has to do with the refrigerant, it may be costly or impossible to obtain R22 to make the repairs. If you upgrade to a new AC unit, you can be confident that if you need to add more refrigerant, the R-401A you need will be available.

What does "phased out" mean?

Air conditioners that run R22 are no longer being made, but as of 2017, R22 is still being made. However, there are plans to make less and less of this refrigerant each year. No more will be made after 2020. Since the refrigerant is becoming more and more scarce, prices are rising. Your HVAC contractor may be able to get their hands on some if you're desperate, but you'll have to pay a pretty penny. Post-2020, you can count on it being next to impossible to find.

What are the benefits of R-401A?

R-401A, the refrigerant being used in today's modern air conditioners, does not contribute to ozone depletion as R22 has been found to. Ozone depletion has been linked to climate change and also an increased risk of skin cancer. So, opting for a more eco-friendly refrigerant for your air conditioner is really doing the planet and fellow humans a favor. Because today's air conditioners are so much better for the planet, you may even be eligible for a tax deduction when you purchase one. Talk to an HVAC contractor like CLIMATE CONTROL LTD to learn more about this new refrigerant and what the R22 phase-out means for you.