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What is R22?

If your current A/C unit was installed before 2010, then itmost likely uses R22. If you’re not sure what R22 is then keep reading; we’ll catch you up!

R22 refrigerant is a type of coolant that keeps the airbeing pumped out of your A/C unit cold, so it’s undoubtedly vital to your system. This refrigerant was introduced in the 1950s and soon became the leading residential refrigerant in the heating and cooling industry.

Fast forward a couple decades, and the world has realizedthat R22 refrigerant was contributing to the depletion of the Earth’s ozone layer. Which obviously isn’t a good thing. So, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), along with a slew of other groups and organizations from around the world decided to phase out the use of ozone-depleting agents as part of an agreement called the Montreal Protocol. The regulation lists many differenttypes of refrigerants that deplete the ozone layer, but R22 is among the worst of them.

In 2003, the phasing out of R22 began, and in 2010 the production and import of R22 became prohibited. However, since people had units that operated on R22 prior to the ban, these units would still need servicing. So if there was a supply of R22 left, they were allowed to be serviced by a certified technician. By 2020, all import and production will be eliminated. After 2020,all sources of R22 will be a recycled version for use on air conditioners.

With the supply dwindling, the cost of R22 is going to continue to increase. That means it’s going to cost more service a unit that uses it. If you’re not sure whether or not your current system uses it, you can either check the manual that came with the unit or have one of our technicians come out and inspect the unit. We’ll be able to tell you right away!

The current trend in the industry is to use R410a refrigerant. There are some valuable benefits to switching from an R22 air conditioning unit to one that uses R410a. It provides a higher safety rating and an ozone depletion rating of zero, and it performed slightly better on energy-efficiency tests than R22.

If you have an older R22 system, you have a few differentoptions.

  1. Buy an upgraded, more environmentally-friendly system that uses R410a.
  2. Call an expert to replace the parts in your current A/C system to help make it compatible with an approved air conditioner refrigerant. This will likely void all manufacturer warranties on your equipment, we don’t recommend this one.
  3. Stick with using recycled R22 and deal with the rising cost. We do not recommend this solution either.

To be clear, the EPA regulates the production and use of this refrigerant, but not your system. You aren’t required by law to replace your air conditioner. However, at some point, your A/C will quit running, and it will need to be replaced. Only R410a units will be available for purchase.

If you live in the Bloomfield Hills area and you have any questions about R22, its more environmentally and cost-friendly alternative R410a, or about upgrading your A/C system, give Sun Heating & Cooling a call at (248) 335-4555 or schedule an appointment online!

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