What exactly is R-22, and how does it impact my system?
R-22 is a refrigerant, specifically a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). Contained within the coils of an air conditioner, the R-22 refrigerant is a fluid that’s responsible for cooling the air that blows from the unit.
The Clean Air Act established a schedule to phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), such as R-22, that contain ozone-destroying chlorine. Thus, newer refrigerants, such as R-410-A, are being used in newer equipment.
Many air conditioning units made before 2016 use R-22 refrigerant (also known as FREON® ). The Environmental Protection Agency has deemed R-22 harmful to the environment and began a phaseout as part of the Clean Air Act. Its manufacture will be completely discontinued on January 1, 2020. As of January 2016 equipment using R-22 is no longer being manufactured.
Already, the manufacturing phaseout has caused a shortage of R-22. This led to the cost skyrocketing to be five times more expensive in just the past few years. Eventually, R-22 will become completely unavailable at any cost.
P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling, Inc. can help you find alternatives for R-22 now so you’ll be prepared for the future.
How to tell if your air conditioner uses R-22
Most air conditioners have a nameplate on the unit that identifies the type of refrigerant it contains. You also can check the owner’s manual or ask the company that made or sold you the unit. If you know the manufacturer and model number of your air conditioner you can contact them to confirm refrigerant it uses. Or, contact P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling, Inc. for an air conditioning tune-up. Our technician can determine the refrigerant.
Should you stop using your air conditioner with R-22?
Homeowners aren’t required to stop using or replace an air conditioner just because it uses R-22 refrigerant. However, as supplies of R-22 become more scarce, the price will continue to increase. You’ll need to rely on recycled or reclaimed quantities of R-22 so you should consider your options. Newer air conditioner units use more environmentally friendly refrigerant.
What are your choices?
P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling, Inc. has decades of experience in cooling systems and a first-hand knowledge of your unit. We can advise you based on the age of your unit, its condition, and your own home comfort.
- Maintain and repair.
For newer air conditioners (less than 8 years old), this could be a cost-effective option. Annual service is recommended to stop minor leakage and prevent breakdowns that can release all the R-22 gas from the system. It’s important to remember: mixing R-22 with newer refrigerants will damage your air conditioner beyond repair.
If your air conditioner is more than 10 years old, replacement may be the better choice. Keeping an older system maintained and charged with expensive R-22 will become increasingly costly. A new system typically uses a more environmentally friendly refrigerant called R410-A – and is more energy efficient, providing maximum home comfort.
There are some environmentally friendly alternatives to R-22. However, they generally require complex changes in your equipment, requiring a highly trained technician. If your system is older, a retrofit may be only a short-term solution. Investing in one of today’s high-efficiency systems could be a wiser long-term choice.
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For more than 80 years, P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling, Inc. has been providing customers with advice they can trust. Family-owned and operated, we believe in building relationships. That means we promise honesty and integrity, as well as technical expertise, service reliability and fair pricing.
Set up an appointment to discuss your needs today in Chagrin Falls, Shaker Heights, Solon, Cleveland Heights, Cleveland and areas nearby.