Refrigerant used in older air conditioners has been scheduled to be withdrawn from the market for over 20 years after it was proven to damage the Earth’s ozone layer. Lately, however, the pace of this withdrawal has picked up.
In January, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced that the 2013 allotment of manufactured R-22 refrigerant would be one-third less than 2012. For HVAC contractors and for homeowners still operating air conditioners made before 2010, the implications of the R-22 refrigerant phaseout are clear: Prices will rise dramatically and spot shortages may occur during the cooling season.
Some of the consequences of this R-22 refrigerant phaseout include:
- Spiraling costs for any A/C repair that requires the addition of R-22 refrigerant. This can include routine maintenance procedures where small amounts of refrigerant are needed to top up the system.
- Disruption of home cooling entirely in the event that a breakdown occurs during a period of spot shortages of R-22.
- Risky reliance on marginal, inefficient air conditioners with obsolete R-22 technology and outmoded performance and efficiency specs.
It doesn’t have to be this way. The EPA-approved replacement refrigerant is R-410A. Now available in abundant supplies at reasonable prices, most air conditioners manufactured in the United States since 2010 are engineered for R-410A. (However, old R-22 units cannot be retrofitted to utilize R-410A.) In some cases there are some limited options to replace some of the major components of the R-22 system if they fail, but you are still left with the problem of ever more costly R-22 refrigerant.
Homeowners who upgrade their A/C are not only spared the uncertainty of the R-22 refrigerant phaseout, they also receive the benefits of advanced technology. Air conditioners that utilize R-410A deliver more consistent cooling at lower costs and offer more options.
One more perk for making the switch to R-410A now: A federal tax credit for 10 percent (to a maximum credit of $300) of the price of a high-efficiency R-410A air conditioner has been extended to the end of 2013.
Cleveland’s choice for cooling and heating services since 1936, P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling offers a proven track record of customer satisfaction. Let us take the worry out of the R-22 refrigerant phaseout with an upgrade to advanced R-410A A/C technology.
Paul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.
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.