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R22 Refrigerant phaseout what does it mean for my air conditioner in 2020

R22 Refrigerant Phaseout what does it mean for my air conditioner in 2020

[Washington, D.C.] R22 Refrigerant Phaseout what does it mean for my air conditioner in 2020? The HVAC industry is bracing for the planned phase out of Freon (R22) for residential and commercial HVAC units. Many customers are unaware of the phase out and do not know how it will affect them.

What are HCFCs and R-22 and what does it mean for my air conditioner in 2020?

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, most commonly known as HCFCs are chemicals that are used as refrigerants. Unfortunately, releases of HCFCs deplete the Earth’s protective ozone layer and contribute to climate change. R22 is an HCFC refrigerant that has been used in air conditioning systems. To protect the Earth’s protective ozone layer, the United States is phasing out R-22, along with other chemicals.

HCFCs and the Ozone

Layer The stratospheric ozone layer shields the Earth from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Emissions of certain synthetic chemicals—including CFCs, halons, and HCFCs—destroy the ozone layer, and have created an “ozone hole” over the South Pole. Through the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United States committed to a collaborative, international effort to regulate and phase out ozone-depleting substances. The United States phased out CFCs and halons in the mid 1990’s we now must reduce HCFC consumption.

R22 Phase Out Timeline and what does it mean for my air conditioner in 2020?

R22 has harmful effects on the ozone layer. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) set January 1, 2020 as the date that R22 is to be banned from production and importation in the United States.

After January, it cannot be manufactured in the United States. It is a good idea to begin to think about replacement of older systems. It just won’t be available anymore.

R22 Refrigerant Phaseout what does it mean for my air conditioner in 2020 with Maintenance and Repairs?

The R22 phase out date means that after January 1, 2020, HVAC systems that use R22 will be obsolete. If a repair needs R22 refrigerant added the only options are:

  1. Reclaimed or

  2. Existing stock of R22 refrigerant.

Most service calls do require a refrigerant recharge.

If you have a system that needs periodic R22 injected into it after January, the only option will be to replace it.

The supplies of R22 refrigerant are already shrinking. The closer it gets to 2020, the smaller the global supply of R22 will be available. This will lead to the costs to soar. Which will make some routine repairs very expensive.

Advising R22 System Owners

What about customers who already own R22-dependent systems?

These customers can continue to use their systems after January 1, 2020 and get as much useful life as possible out of their systems. If they wait it will be more expensive to make an emergency replacement. Many homeowners may not be comfortable with these odds.

There are some systems can be converted to use a different refrigerant. These conversions may only buy them a few more years of useful life. The best option is replacing the system in 2020. This gives the most reliability and cost predictability.

The 2020 R22 phase out deadline is already here. Now is the time to start thinking about replacement options to make sure they are educated and fully prepared to make a decision on the future of their HVAC system.

What Options Are Available?

In terms of R22 Refrigerant Phaseout what does it mean for my air conditioner in 2020. The option of using reclaimed or recovered R-22 refrigerant exists. As it phases out it will become scarcer and more expensive. If you choose to stick with R-22, the United States Environmental Protection Agency recommends frequently checking on your equipment to ensure that leaks are repaired quickly.

For homeowners or commercial property owners, the current options for transitioning are:

1. Retrofit the system to use next-generation refrigerants

An hvac contractor can retrofit your system to work with alternative refrigerants. A contractor can’t simply replace R22 with any other refrigerant without additional modifications. You cannot substitute R410a on an R22 system, without major changes and engineering analysis. Disposal of refrigerants regulated by the EPA is mandatory.

“The new refrigerants operate differently from R22 refrigerant.” -ACCA Quality Maintenance Standards Manual

A proper retrofit requires extensive experience and expertise. If an A/C Contractor performs a faulty retrofit there is a chance that your system’s warranty may not cover the damages. You should consult your manufacturer’s warranty to see if it remains valid. Using any other refrigerant will void the safety certification of the system. A mistake can cost more than installing a new hvac system.

2. Do Nothing

  1. Wait for the system to fail

  2. or needs an expensive repair.

This is the least expensive alternative. You can extend the life of your system by doing these 2 things.

Replace your air filter every month and a Proper Service and Maintenance of the system.

Replace the entire system with a new R410a Refrigerant System

I get it. Sadly, it’s the new reality. Replacing your system is a more ozone-friendly option. This option will save you money over time.


To answer the question “R22 Refrigerant Phaseout what does it mean for my air conditioner in the year 2020”? Air Conditioning Guys has many options for customers with aging systems and budget constraints. We offer a variety of brands and energy efficiency options all with the NEW R-410a refrigerants. From SEER 14, SEER 16, SEER 18, SEER 21 and even some equipment that go as high as SEER 25 for your needs. Click here

We are your local air conditioning experts. Air Conditioning Guys services all residential type package units, split systems, ductless mini splits, heat pumps, gas furnaces. Other Products we offer are indoor air quality products, duct sealing, attic insulation and water heaters.

About the author

Louis A. Fuentes is the licensed contractor for Air Conditioning Guys located at 1413 W. Main St, El Centro, CA 92243. He holds a license by the California Contractor’s State License Board. 1008878 and is a sitting board member of the Air Conditioning Contractors of America representing over 60,000 hvac and refrigeration Trade Professionals which set the standard for Quality Installation Practices and ACCA’s Quality Service and Maintenance Protocols. Serving all Imperial Valley and San Diego Region.

(760) 352-2244 or (619) 452-3469

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