2020 is a pivotal year in terms of air conditioning and the R-22 freon phaseout.
The Environmental Protection Agency states that, “New production and import of most HCFCs were phased out as of 2020. The most common HCFC in use today is HCFC-22 or R-22, a refrigerant still used in existing air conditioners and refrigeration equipment.”
Since January 1st, 2020, it is now illegal to manufacture or import R-22 in the United States. If your unit was installed before 2010, there is a good chance that you have R-22 in your air conditioning or heat pump system.
But here’s no need to panic—continued use is still allowed.
So this might leave you questioning whether or not you need to replace the freon in your air conditioner unit. The answer is no, you do not need to replace the R-22 refrigerant in your AC immediately as long as your system is functioning properly without leaks.
What is R-22 Refrigerant?
Since the 1950’s R22 has been a leading chemical in the refrigerant industry. However, it’s been found to be a harmful substance that depletes the ozone layer. As a result, the EPA announced plans to phaseout and ban the substance.
What Are My Options After the R-22 Ban?
Thankfully there are options. Homeowners have 3 main choices when it comes to the R-22 ban:
- Keep running your air conditioning unit as-is (as long as it isn’t leaking or broken, of course) and replace when it is time to fix your system.
- Retrofit or convert your R-22 equipment to new and approved refrigerants.
- Plan ahead by replacing your air conditioning unit.
Keep in mind that retrofitting your system may not be the best option depending on the age of your unit and compatibility. It should also only be done by a trained professional. It may be recommended to replace your system to a more energy efficient unit to avoid spending more money on recharging your aging unit. Consult with your HVAC technician to discuss the best options for you and your home.