If you have an older air conditioning system in your home or you work as a facilities manager who is responsible for older air conditioning systems, the chances are that you are alarmed by the news that R22 (Freon) is already being phased out. What will happen when R22 is completely phased out in 2020? Would you have to replace the entire equipment with an expensive and energy-efficient system or can you replace R22 with a new environmentally-friendly refrigerant gas? This article will provide information on the timeline for the phasing out of R22 and some of the important facts you need to know.
R22 or Freon is the most common refrigerant used in older air conditioning systems. That is due to the HVAC friendliness of the refrigerant. But the EPA decided to phase out R22 due to the damage it does to the ozone layer of the planet. In fact, the EPA ruling for the phasing out of R22 began a decade ago. The production and importation of R22 are already limited in the United States. Suppliers can store only the quantity that is required to service the existing HVAC equipment. The new HVAC units manufactured after 2012-2015 use an eco-friendly version of a refrigerant known as R410A instead of R22. R410A is energy-efficient and eco-friendly at the same time. It doesn’t harm the ozone layer of the planet.
With the deadline for completely phasing out of R22 looming, the price of refrigerant is skyrocketing on the market. In fact, suppliers who have stocked R22 are taking advantage of the supply and demand situation to raise the price of the refrigerant. Your repair bills will significantly increase if you are still using an older HVAC unit that uses R22. Here is what will happen in the next couple of years when R22 is going to be completely phased out.
. January 2018 – The production of R22 dropped 30% from the supply of nine-million pounds in 2017
. January 2019 – The production will drop to 55% of the supply for 2018 (which is around 4-million pounds).
. January 2020 – R22 will be completely phased out with no new productions or importation to the United States.
Each time the production is reduced, the price of R22 will rise. After January 2020, R22 won’t be available for purchase at any price. That way you won’t be able to use the old HVAC equipment in your home or office once they break down. In fact, you will be forced to replace the old equipment once they break down the next time around. So what are your options after January 2020?
You have a few options left with you once the complete phase-out of R22 comes into effect in 2020. One option is to do nothing and wait for the inevitable break down of the old HVAC units. If the HVAC unit breaks down after January 2020, you have no other option but to replace the unit with a new unit that uses bluon energy r 20 or replace the R22 in the old unit with the new refrigerant. But if the unit breaks down any time before January 2020, you have the option of replacing the entire unit or repairing it with R22. Both these options will be quite costly for you. The price of R22 will skyrocket due to the limitations placed on its production and importation. Whatever option you choose to implement will depend on your budget. In case you can spend money on a brand-new HVAC unit with R401A, it is the best option available to you right now. But what if you don’t have the money to replace the entire HVAC unit with a system that uses the new eco-friendly refrigerant?
In some cases, you can convert the old system to use the new refrigerant – R410A. Although this option isn’t possible for all the HVAC systems out there, it may cost you some money since you have to replace the compressor and coil of the existing system with a coil and compression that are compatible with the new refrigerant. It is less expensive than replacing the entire HVAC system. You will have to get a qualified and experienced HVAC contractor to inspect your existing system to see if it could be converted to use the new refrigerant. If you decide to replace the entire unit with an eco-friendly unit, the upfront cost could be significant. But it can be very cost-effective in the long run. The new systems on the market are energy-efficient as well as eco-friendly. Hence, you will save on your energy bills as well as do your part on behalf of the environment in the process. That way you can save money in the long run if you decide to replace the entire HVAC unit with an eco-friendly new unit.
If you are still using an old HVAC system that operates with R22, here are some recommendations for you. The longer you wait to replace the old HVAC unit, the longer you may have to wait for the installation to be completed. HVAC contractors are going to become quite busy after January 2020 since there will be a lot of homeowners who will be replacing their existing units after the complete phase-out comes into effect. You may have to wait for some time to find a good HVAC contractor for the installation. How will you manage without the AC until such time?
When calculating the costs of replacing the entire HVAC unit with an eco-friendly unit, you should take the energy savings into account. The newer systems can result in bigger energy savings in the long run. You will save a lot of money in the process. Hence, the best thing is to spend on replacing the entire old unit with an energy-efficient and eco-friendly new HVAC system. Although the upfront cost will be slightly high, you will save money on your energy bills in the long run.