Have you heard of R-22? Odds are, unless you work in a specific sector relating to the chemical, you probably aren’t familiar with this name.
R-22 – also known as Chlorodifluoromethane – is a colorless gas that is commonly used as a refrigerant. Other names for this chemical include R-22 Refrigerant, R-22 Freon, or HCFC- 22 Freon. This substance is classified as a hydrochlorofluorocarbon, meaning it is a compound made up of carbon, hydrogen, hydrocarbons, chlorine, and fluorine.
Introduced in the 1950s, R-22 quickly became a crucial part of most HVAC systems across America. Simply put, R-22 is the chemical in your system that makes your air cold. This chemical is appealing to the HVAC industry because it is very good at cooling down households and is generated at a lower cost than other refrigerants. For a long time, R-22 was the leading refrigerant used in the industry, as the benefits were obvious. If your HVAC system was issued before 2010, it probably uses R-22.
Government Phase Out of R-22
Although R-22 is an effective way to keep us cool, countries including the United States have decided to phase out the use of the chemical. In a world becoming more aware of climate change and the impact of human behavior on the environment, studies have shown that R-22 is very harmful. Unfortunately, this chemical resides in a class of ozone-depleting substances. When used at high rates, R-22 contributes to the depletion of the stratospheric ozone, which protects the Earth from radiation. Over time, scientists have learned that overexposure to UV radiation has serious effects on humans- such as the development of skin cancer, cataracts, and weakening of the immune system.
In an effort to protect the planet, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has worked with other groups across the world to initiate an international agreement. This agreement, known as the Montreal Protocol, aims to stop various HCFCs and CFCs from being used in everyday products. R-22 is considered one of the worst offenders on this list, leading to the official plan to phase it out of the United States for good.
As of 2017, only 13 million pounds of chemical R-22 were produced, indicating a huge decline in usage from previous years. In 2018, this number shrank to 9 million pounds produced, and dropped even further in 2019 with only 4 million pounds produced. Starting in 2020, no R-22 will be made or imported into the United States.
How Does This Affect Me?
This phase out will affect homeowners throughout the United States who have HVAC systems that rely on the use of R-22. As the government stops the use of this chemical, consumers will need to make informed choices when servicing, repairing, or replacing an existing air-conditioning unit or when purchasing a new unit.
As the amount of R-22 allowed in the United States dwindles down, the cost of servicing and recharging these units has skyrocketed. After January 1st, 2020, those with a unit that uses R-22 will face charges up to $1000 for a simple recharge. Homeowners with these systems are now faced with a choice, pay the huge fees for recharges or switch over to new system such as the R-401A.
Make the Switch Today!
We highly recommend investing your money into a new system, as the cost of maintaining a unit with R-22 will keep increasing over time. Aside from helping protect the environment, switching over to a new system will lead to huge savings for you. Installing a new system will also increase the air quality of your home, and ensure your system is running at its maximum efficiency. Systems running at their best efficiency lead to lower electric bills, aka more savings on your end!
Contact Your Local TemperaturePro
Are you unsure if your system uses R-22? Thinking of switching over to a new system? Contact the professionals at TemperaturePro today! Our qualified technicians will be upfront with you, evaluating your current system and working to find a solution that best fits your needs. They are always customer oriented, and will install your new system quickly and efficiently. Find a location near you or call 1-800-885-COOL to speak with a representative today!