How New R22 Regulations will Affect Your AC System | MTB Mechanical

By 2020, new regulations will halt the production and importation of R22 (Freon). Learn what this means for your AC system. 

There’s a dramatic change underway, and it affects anyone with an air conditioning system. By 2020, the production and importation of most hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) will be on their way out under the U.S. Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. While you may not recognize the eight-syllable word being phased out, you will recognize the most common HCFC: R22, also known as Freon, the most common refrigerant used in AC units. 

HCFCs are class II substances. Class I substances have already been phased out of use in the United States because of their high ozone depletion potential, and now, class II substances will be the next to go. 

Benefits of reducing class II substances:

  • Skin cancer risk from UV radiation will be reduced
  • Many class II substances are greenhouse gases, so this will help combat climate change

While the benefits are clear, this phasing out presents a major challenge for anyone with an AC system that uses R22. If you’re unsure, check the nameplate on the outside of your unit. It should identify the kind of refrigerant used. And most likely, R22 is in there. 

So how does this impact the future of your AC? It will, and faster than you think. Now is the time to be proactive. If you allow your system to continue running with R22, eventually you will experience leaks or breakdowns, requiring the replacement of Freon. If this happens before January 1, 2020, when the new regulations go into effect, the supply will be dwindling while the prices go sky high. Even today, the cost of repairing R22 systems or replacing the refrigerant is almost cost-prohibitive. Over the next two years, it will only get worse.

Naturally, nobody wants to replace their AC system before it has run its course. But ultimately, a replacement will be your wisest investment. Certainly you can continue to have regular preventative maintenance on your existing system, to ensure that it’s running as efficiently as possible. But you should also plan ahead, for the day when your entire system will need replacing, with a unit that uses safer, industry-standard technology and materials. A replacement is the only way to ensure that there is no interruption in your AC’s operation long into the future – because anything related to R22 will soon be a thing of the past. 

To learn more about R22 and schedule an appointment, call MTB today at (704) 321-9250.

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