In the United States, ozone-depleting substances (ODS) are regulated as class I or class II controlled substances. These substances have higher ozone depletion potential and have been completely phased out in the U.S. One of the most common ozone-depleting substances is R-22 refrigerant. R-22 refrigerant is a chemical that keeps the air coming from your air conditioning system cool. It was introduced in the 1950s and became the leading AC refrigerant in the residential heating and cooling industry prior to 2010. So, if you purchased your HVAC system before 2010, it’s probably using R-22 refrigerant. HVAC systems that were manufactured after 2010 started using a new refrigerant, R-410A. This new type of refrigerant doesn’t have a negative environmental impact like R-22 does. One of the reasons that manufacturers started to do this was due to the Environmental Protection Agency’s mandate that R-22 would gradually be phased out. And as of January 1st of this year, it’s illegal to buy or sell R-22 anymore. You can still keep your system if it uses R-22, and it can still be serviced, it will just cost more.
The Cost of R-22 Refrigerant
R-22 refrigerant is expensive and will continue to get more expensive. R-22 costs about four times as much per pound compared to R-410A. The law of supply and demand comes into play here. HVAC manufacturers have stopped making R-22 systems. That means there is less demand for R-22 and it’s getting scarcer. When there is increased scarcity, there are higher prices. You can’t use R-410A in a system that uses R-22. It would be like using diesel in a gasoline tank. Just like the truck would break down and stop working, so will your HVAC system. If you’re unsure as to the type of refrigerant your system uses, you can find out by looking on the unit’s nameplate. It’s usually on the outdoor condenser. You can also check the owner’s manual or with the company that services your system.
What Happens if Your R-22 HVAC System Springs a Leak?
You can continue to use your current R-22 system until it starts to leak. But all systems will start to leak at some point. You will have three choices when it does: you can buy more R-22 that will be expensive and only available until it runs out completely, retrofit your R-22 system, or completely replace your system with a new one. Continuing to buy expensive R-22 is throwing good money down the drain. Retrofitting is expensive and complicated so your best option is typically to use this opportunity to upgrade to a more energy efficient system. The only time it makes sense to buy R-22 is when you need to buy enough to keep you comfortable until your new system can be installed.
HVAC Services in Springfield, Granby, Holyoke, South Hadley, Monson, Chicopee & Agawam Massachusetts
Most of the time it makes sense to replace your R-22 HVAC system when it starts to leak. The last thing you want to do is continue investing in an aging HVAC system. More so when it depends on a chemical that will soon be obsolete. A new system will be much more efficient and when it does start to leak it won’t cost you a fortune to repair. Contact Ambient Heating & Air Conditioning to discuss your options!