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Will My AC Be Affected by the Freon (R-22) Phaseout?

The ongoing phaseout of the refrigerant, Freon (R-22), and the upcoming ban on its production in 2020 triggers a lot of questions among homeowners.

  • “Will my air conditioner be affected?”

  • “If my AC uses Freon, will I be able to get it repaired after 2020?”

  • “Will I be forced to replace my air conditioner once 2020 arrives?”

In order to put some of those concerns to rest and also equip AC owners with some knowledge for the future, we’ve gathered some helpful information about the Freon phaseout that we’ve included below in FAQ, along with some pro tips about refrigerant repairs.

QUESTION: Will my air conditioner be affected by the Freon (R-22) phaseout?

ANSWER: Unless your current air conditioner requires R-22 to run, you will not be affected by the Freon phaseout. A quick way to tell if your AC uses R-22 is to go by the year it was manufactured. If your AC was manufactured on or after January 1, 2010, then it will not use R-22 due to the restrictions placed on manufacturers regarding that refrigerant.

QUESTION: I think my air conditioner might use Freon (R-22); how can I tell?

ANSWER: If you still have the owner’s manual, it’s best to check there to see what kind of refrigerant your air conditioner uses. If, like many people, you do not still have the owner’s manual, check the nameplate on your AC’s outdoor unit. If you can’t find the refrigerant type listed on the unit’s nameplate, look for the model number so that you can either call the manufacturer or look up the unit online.

Also, if your air conditioner was recently serviced, the HVAC company who performed the service may be able to tell you what type of refrigerant your AC uses.

QUESTION: How quickly is Freon (R-22) going away?

ANSWER: Unfortunately, there is no definitive answer to this. What we can say is that the R-22 phaseout has already been underway for some time. However, in 2020, stricter measures will be put in place that will reduce the supply of R-22 even further.

In 2020, the following restrictions will go into effect:

  • It will no longer be legal to manufacture new R-22 in the United States.

  • It will no longer be legal to import new R-22 into the United States.

While these regulations do not restrict the use of pre-existing supplies of R-22, these regulations will increase the demand for those pre-existing supplies. It’s difficult to predict how long these supplies will last, but it is not difficult to predict that they will become increasingly hard to obtain.

QUESTION: If my air conditioner uses Freon (R-22), will I have to do anything differently once 2020 arrives?

ANSWER: Once 2020 arrives, you will not be legally required to do anything differently if your air conditioner uses R-22. You will not be required by law to replace your air conditioner. You will still be able to run your air conditioner as usual, and you will still be able to get your unit serviced with a pre-existing supply of R-22 if needed, as long as the supplies last. Just be prepared for the cost of a repair with R-22 to be higher than it has been in the past as this refrigerant becomes increasingly limited.

QUESTION: Can I start using a different refrigerant in my air conditioner?

ANSWER: If your air conditioner uses R-22, it will need to be retrofitted before it will be able to operate with a different refrigerant. One type of refrigerant that’s being used instead of R-22 is R-410A (Puron). You can find this refrigerant and other acceptable “Substitutes in Residential and Light Commercial Air Conditioning and Heat Pumps” on the EPA’s website.

3 Things to Keep in Mind About Refrigerant

Whether you own an R-22-reliant air conditioner or not, it’s always important to work with licensed and trustworthy HVAC professionals when it comes to issues with refrigerant.

  • If your technician tells you that your AC is low on refrigerant, ask where the leak is. Dishonest contractors sometimes attempt to scam customers by claiming that the AC’s refrigerant needs to be “topped off” on a regular basis.

  • You should only have an issue with refrigerant if there is a leak or if the refrigerant was not properly installed.

  • Refrigerant leaks are bad for the environment, and contact with refrigerant can be dangerous for your health. Leave the refrigerant repairs to the professionals, as they have the training to handle refrigerant safely.

At Iceberg Heating & Cooling, our technicians are dedicated to providing the exceptional service you need, every time you need it. Contact us online or call us at (734) 375-1119.