How to Prepare for the R-22 Phase Out

If you’ve had to have your refrigerant replaced within the past few years, you might have been shocked to find out just how much a canister of the chemical R-22 can cost these days. The hike in price is all thanks to the current phase-out; a plan that is steadily removing R-22 from the refrigerant market. Will this phase-out impact you in the future, and should you be taking action? The experts at McAllister…the Service Company say absolutely!

What Is the R-22 Phase-Out?

In short, the EPA-issued regulation is working to completely remove chlorofluorocarbons (of which R-22 is one) from the United States market. This means that by the time the phase-out finishes (2020), no more R-22 can be imported or produced in the country, which will mean many cooling systems will be sadly out of luck the next time they experience a refrigerant leak.

Feeling a bit indignant about the whole thing? Hold your horses! The phase-out is actually a really good thing in many ways. Chlorofluorocarbons have been proven to be dangerous, both to people and to the environment. They deplete the ozone layer, are highly toxic, and even present serious risks to HVAC workers and anyone else coming into contact with them.

Beyond that, many refrigerants that are replacing ol’ Freon are actually more efficient and effective as well, which can help your cooling system get a boost. The phase-out is a good thing. It’s just going to take some time and planning.

What Do I Need to do to Prepare?

Mostly what needs to be done is to take action. For many of us this is going to mean one of two things: preservation or migration.

Preservation means optimizing your current system through means like consistent HVAC maintenance to ensure a refrigerant leak doesn’t occur, helping to preserve your existing refrigerant for as long as possible. You really do need to keep in mind that this eventually won’t work anymore, though, and the cost of R-22 is going to get even higher. Once the R-22 is gone, it’s gone for good, meaning waiting too long could leave you in a rough place in the next five years.

If you’re opting for prevention methods we would recommend talking to your HVAC contractor about the possibility of retrofitting; the act of replacing R-22 components with updated equipment that handles more widely accepted refrigerants. This won’t be an option for everyone, but it will be for some.

Migration is the action many of us will prefer to take, and in fact many homeowners already have without knowing. Modern AC units are being manufactured to use alternative refrigerants like high-efficiency HFC blends like R-410a, so if you’ve had a cooling system installation or replacement in recent years, you might already be set.

How Do I Know What Refrigerant My Unit Uses?

Most systems have a nameplate that displays important details about the product like the age of the unit, the load capacity, and the refrigerant type. This place is most typically found on the lower side of the outdoor unit.

Update Your HVAC with McAllister in Somers Point

Stressing out over the phase-out and not sure where you stand, or what to do? Don’t worry! You actually stand to gain a lot from this whole business, including higher efficiency and lower refrigerant costs. If you need help preparing your home, or have decided the benefits of a replacement are starting to sound pretty great, give us a call today to discuss your cooling needs!