Like many recent homeowners who have faced steadily increasing bills for the service on your air conditioning unit or heat pump, R-22 refrigerant could be the reason. R-22 has been the most widely used refrigerant in the world for more than 40 years. Used in central air conditioning systems it is non-toxic, efficient, simple to use, and for decades we have relied on it.

Why is R-22 Being Phased Out by the EPA?

Despite the popularity of R-22, it is also a HCFC (hydrochloroflourocarbon) class refrigerant that contains chlorine and has been linked to damaging the earth’s ozone layer. The Montreal Protocol, an international environmental agreement that the United States signed during the Clinton administration, established a gradual but complete phase-out plan for R-22 Freon as well as a multitude of other HCFC class refrigerants.

To comply with the mandates of the Protocol, around every five years, the manufacture and import of R-22 is being stepped down by the EPA, with the target of complete phase-out by 2030. Amounts allowed for 2012-2014 will not be set by the EPA until the summer of 2012, and they are sure to be greatly reduced, which has a sudden impact on prices.

What You Can Do?

If you have an existing unit that uses R-22 the EPA says it will still be allowed to be refilled and serviced as there is no requirement from the EPA to change the system based on the refrigerant it uses. However, the ever increasing cost of the R-22, compounded by the increasing difficulty in acquiring it, makes a system replacement a good decision environmentally as well as financially.

The most established replacement to R-22 Freon is R410A (also known as Puron), which is generally considered superior, but is not compatible for use in existing R-22 systems due to higher working pressures. A new system is likely the best bet both for the environment and for your wallet. Contact Service Today to discover more about the best long-term alternatives for your AC and heat pump needs.

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