How do I know if my air conditioner or heat pump uses R-22 refrigerant?
You can usually find this information on your outdoor unit’s nameplate. If you can find the information on your outdoor condensing unit, call the HVAC company that services your system.
Can I simply replace the refrigerant in my existing equipment?
No, most definitely not. Mixing refrigerants is a bad idea that could result in reduced performance, higher energy bills, and premature breakdowns. If you really want to keep your existing system and replace the refrigerant, minor to serious modifications may be necessary.
Older systems will require costlier modifications to account for the more environmentally friendly refrigerant, however, newer units may not need significant changes. Speak with a professional about your options. Most likely, a complete replacement will make more sense.
Is it illegal to use R-22 refrigerant?
Even though the EPA is phasing out all HCFC products under the Clean Air Act, homeowners will still be able to legally use and service their equipment that runs on R-22 refrigerant.
Existing stocks of R-22 may be used to service existing A/C, heat pump, and refrigeration equipment. After January 1, 2020, “only recycled, reclaimed, or previously produced HCFC-22 can be used to service existing equipment” (EPA).
There are no obligations to retrofit or replace existing equipment, but not doing so could mean higher prices for services involving R-22 refrigerant.
Is it illegal to buy new HVAC equipment that uses R-22 refrigerant?
Since 2010, the EPA has made it illegal to manufacture or install new HVAC equipment that uses R-22 refrigerant. Although you can continue to service and maintain your existing HVAC system with R-22, you cannot install a new system that uses R-22.
How can I minimize my environmental impact if I have a unit that uses R-22?
The best thing you can do to reduce your HVAC environmental impact is to remember to schedule annual professional maintenance twice a year (once in the fall and once in the spring).
Does this ruling affect other appliances, such as refrigerators?
Yes, the R-22 Phaseout affects any equipment that uses R-22 refrigerant, including refrigerators. If you purchase a new refrigerator or freezer, make sure you properly dispose of it by scheduling a curbside recycling pickup. Read the EPA’s Responsible Appliance Disposal guide for more information.
What choices do I have?
With R-22 (HCFC-22) being phased out, you have three choices:
- Stick with your existing air conditioning/heat pump system and convert it to an EPA-approved refrigerant, such as R410A.
- Buy a new air conditioner/heat pump that uses an EPA-approved refrigerant.
- Continue to operate and service your system as always, with the understanding that prices will most likely continue to rise.
Click here to learn more about how the R-22 Phaseout affects homeowners and consumers.
It may be a wise decision to replace your air conditioner or heat pump if it is on the fritz. You don’t want to wait until you are forced to make a quick decision to pay for the higher R-22 prices or look for replacement options.
In fact, the best time to replace your air conditioner or heat pump is during the off-season, either fall or spring. When temperatures are moderate and comfortable, HVAC companies are desperate for work. You will generally see the best A/C and heat pump deals during the off-season.
If you decide a new air conditioner or heat pump is right for you, learn about the importance of proper unit sizing first. Choosing the right HVAC installation company is more important than anything else.
Trust Penguin Air & Plumbing to help you make the best decision. Give us a call to find out about our current offers.
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