Decades ago, the EPA began phasing out the use of R22, also known as Freon, as a refrigerant in the U.S. This has been a slow process, as so many HVAC systems are still in use that require R22. Instead of requiring anyone with AC units using R22 to replace their equipment all at once, this slow phaseout has been encouraging replacement or retrofitting over many years. Now the final phase-out is coming in less than six months. January 1, 2020 is the deadline for many to make some decisions about their older AC equipment.
Over the last few years, R22 has been becoming increasingly harder to find and more expensive. Each year the allocation allowed in the U.S. has dropped – it went down 55% in 2019, with only 4% of the total allocation allowed at the beginning of the phaseout. The prices have also skyrocketed for those who still own equipment requiring R22 during any repair. When January 2020 arrives, no new R22 will be allowed to be made or imported to the U.S, forcing owners to make changes to their AC equipment.
Options for Owners of R22 AC Equipment
If someone owns old AC equipment that needs repair after the ball drops at the end of 2019, R22 will be in very short supply or gone altogether. What this means is the equipment will either need to be replaced or retrofitted to use another type of refrigerant. Not all equipment can be retrofitted, either. A HVAC professional would need to inspect the AC unit to determine if it is possible. While it is not mandatory to replace the equipment now, it is time to consider the options available before it becomes a problem next year.
Owners can wait for the inevitable breakdown of their AC equipment and make the investment in new equipment then. However, this could mean waiting days, or weeks, to have new equipment delivered and installed when it occurs. At Sure-Fire, Inc., we recommend our customers begin looking at the options now to proactively retrofit or replace their old AC equipment to avoid a lapse in climate control when it is not convenient. New equipment can be scheduled to be installed at your convenience, helping minimize downtime and discomfort.
If you have old AC unit that requires R22, now is the time to begin preparing for the final phase-out. Call our air conditioning experts at Sure-Fire to schedule an inspection of your equipment or to discuss your options.