R-22 refrigerant, commonly known as Freon, was the primary refrigerant used in air conditioners and heat pumps for many years. When it was found to damage the environment, both during the manufacturing process as well as when it is released into the air, plans were put in place to phase it out completely by 2030. Technicians were also required to start reclaiming (collecting) R-22 for recycling.
R-22 by the Numbers
Starting in 2010, the U.S. has had to reduce its R-22 production from 100 million pounds to 39 million pounds. We are just now getting to the point where the supply of R-22 will not meet the demand. As you may expect, prices for R-22 have risen dramatically—more than four times what they were just a few years ago. This situation is just going to get worse as the government continues to phase out the production of R-22.
R-410 to the Rescue?
Another refrigerant, R-410a (Puron), was developed to replace R-22 in new air conditioning units. In addition to being more eco-friendly, this refrigerant has higher efficiency, which means lower utility bills. Unfortunately, you can’t just add R-410a into an R-22 system. A whole new air conditioning system must be purchased, usually with new refrigerant lines as well.
How P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling Can Help
The good news is that you aren’t required to stop using R-22 at this time. Cleveland homeowners have many options. Existing systems will still be able to be recharged with recycled refrigerant if needed. As a matter of fact, some new air conditioners that use R-22 are still being installed. While it is not necessary to upgrade to R-410a right away, we do expect the cost of R-22 to continue to rise as the supply continues to diminish up to the current 2030 deadline. Because of this, we encourage homeowners to purchase a system that uses R-410a refrigerant when it is time to replace their air conditioners.
For more information about the phase out of R-22 refrigerant, or any other question about air conditioning systems, contact us today. We’ve been helping keep greater Cleveland homeowners comfortable since 1936.
Kim Nemecek works at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. After growing up in Cleveland, she lived in Florida for many years, working at an air conditioning company there. Kim has four grown children, two grandchildren and two spoiled dogs. She lives in Solon with her husband, Todd.
The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.