R-22 Refrigerant: What You Need to Know
  • Posted on June 23, 2022
  • By Rod Miller

It’s been in the works for a while, but it’s finally happening: R-22 refrigerant, also known as “R-22 freon” or “HCFC-22 freon”, has been completely phased out.

This could mean some big changes for some homeowners with HVAC systems. We’re here for you and already working to help anyone affected by this transition.

R-22 refrigerant is nasty stuff – it’s been linked to global warming and depletion of the ozone layer, but more on that later. It’s no surprise that the government has been working to phase it out for a while now. The process is finally complete, and that means changes for homeowners with HVAC systems that use R-22 refrigerant.

If you’re not sure what to do, don’t worry – that’s why we wrote this article for you!

What is R-22 Refrigerant?

R-22 is just one chemical HVAC systems use. In a nutshell, this refrigerant runs through your air conditioner or heat pump, and continuously absorbs and releases heat in order to cool your home.

The phase-out of R-22 began in 2012 and in 2020 it was banned from being produced or imported in the USA. Now, in 2022 most supplies of this refrigerant have depleted.

We will no longer have it available to our customers and many other HVAC services are making the same change.

Why was R-22 Refrigerant banned?

As we mentioned earlier, the R-22 refrigerant is being phased out due to its negative impact on the environment. It’s been linked to ozone layer depletion and is harmful to the earth’s ecosystem.

How do I know if my system uses R-22?

If you’re not sure what kind of refrigerant is in your HVAC system, don’t sweat it – there are a few ways to find out. 

Start with checking your owner’s manual–you should have one from when you first purchased your system. All your refrigerant information will be in those pages.

If you can’t locate your manual, contact your HVAC system’s distributor or the company that installed it. They will have the type of refrigerant your system uses on hand.

As an alternative, you can find your refrigerant type on your unit’s data plate. In central air conditioners, the plate is often located on the outside of your unit.  

For heat pumps, things are a little trickier. Head to the back of your unit, and you’ll most likely find the data plate just above the refrigerant valves.

Once you find the actual data plate, you’ll notice a clear indicator near the bottom showing what kind of refrigerant your system uses. 

Don’t forget that you can call your friendly neighborhood  HVAC tech to come over and check for you!

The most common types of refrigerants include:

  • R-22 Refrigerant
  • R-410A Refrigerant
  • R-407C Refrigerant
  • R-134a Refrigerant
  • R-32 Refrigerant
  • R-454B Refrigerant

R-22 is the one you’ll need to need to take action on.

What can I do if my HVAC system uses R-22 refrigerant?

If your HVAC system uses R-22, we recommend having your old unit replaced with a new one that uses a different type of refrigerant, like R-410A. This may seem like a costly and challenging alternative, but it’s actually the best option for several reasons.

First, most HVAC units that use R-22 are getting older and would need to be replaced soon anyway. We’ve seen many of these older units leak refrigerants.

Second, R-22 is very expensive, and most companies are no longer stocking it.

Finally, the repairs needed to make your R-22 unit compatible with a new refrigerant can be quite time-consuming and expensive. It also requires a full inspection and complete flushing out of your current unit.

Trust us – it’s better to replace now than be sorry later. Alternatives to replacement can include continuing to use R-22 until it’s no longer available anywhere.

Warning: Please do not attempt to replace or install new refrigerant on your own. To service an R-22-using system, you need the help of a technician that is EPA Section 608-certified, which means they know the proper way to handle and dispose of harmful refrigerants.

Looking to the future

For now, the future of HVAC units holds the replacement of R-22 and the use of R-410A. However, this type of refrigerant will also be phased out eventually. These phase-outs are a part of the EPA’s work to eliminate all production and import of all HCFCs. As always, our team will keep you up to date on the situation and help you keep up with the latest requirements!

Ready for R-22?

So, what’re your next steps?

If your HVAC system uses R-22 refrigerant, it’s time for a change.

The good news is that we’re here to help – we’ve been preparing for this phase-out for years and are ready to take on your replacement and repair needs.

Give us a call today at (301) 569-7993 or reach out here. Let us help you make the transition as smooth as possible!

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