Will New R/22 Freon Restrictions Affect Your Air Conditioner?

With summer fast approaching, there’s just one more warm season before a law banning the production of Freon takes effect. A common air conditioning refrigerant, Freon will no longer be made starting in 2020 and will begin the process of being phased out of use completely.

What does this mean for AC units that rely on Freon refrigerant? Let One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Delmarva clear the air about Freon and older AC systems by explaining what these new Freon regulations may mean for you.

New Freon Regulations in Effect for 2020

The EPA works to decrease the use of environmentally harmful chemicals. In 1992, the agency decided that HCFCs, the chemicals that help refrigerators and air conditioners to cool, should be phased out due to their contributing effect on ozone depletion, releasing a mandate to stop all Freon production by January 2020.

For decades, Freon, also known as R-22 and HCFC-22, was the main refrigerant used in residential AC units. However, new AC systems made since 2010 no longer rely on Freon, instead using a refrigerant called R410A, or Puron, that has been shown not to harm the ozone. Since 2015, Puron has become the standard for residential AC systems.

Impact on Homeowners with Older Air Conditioners

In the past few years, many homeowners have already switched to more environmentally friendly refrigerants, and older AC systems that have been replaced according to schedule were most likely switched out for Puron units.

Freon-based HVAC units that still fully function need not be replaced just yet with these new regulations. Although Freon will no longer be produced or imported by 2020, limited recycled amounts will still be available. Older systems can be serviced with refrigerant using stocks of HCFC-22 until the January 1st, 2019 date. Afterward, technicians must source recycled Freon to keep old cooling systems running.

Retrofitting Your AC System

Although the EPA doesn’t require owners to buy new AC systems as part of the new Freon regulations, retrofitting older systems is a valid option if possible. If the AC coils are compatible with Puron refrigerant, technicians can replace outdoor units without modifying other components throughout your house. This solution can be pricey, but it will keep your current system working, and might even make it more energy efficient. Routine service is vital for such retrofitted systems to prevent leaks and other harmful effects on the environment.

Replacing Your AC System

If your unit was manufactured before 2010, you might want to replace it. The average lifespan of an AC system is 15 years, and contemporary air conditioners are more efficient and environmentally friendly, giving you lower energy bills to ensure greater savings in the long run.

If you have any questions or concerns about your current AC unity or the new Freon regulations, don’t sweat it! Give One Hour Heating & Air Conditioning® of Delmarva a call today!