What Is “The R22 Phase Out” and How Will it Affect You?
After holding the top spot as the industry standard for decades, R22 refrigerant — also known as Freon — has begun its decline into obsoletion. Due to its environmentally harmful qualities, R22 is being phased out of production. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has ordered the discontinuation of all importing and production of R22 within the United States as part of a new law that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2020. There will be a lot of things changing, so it’s important to understand the effect this ruling will have on you and your HVAC system.
What Does This Mean for You?
If you own an HVAC unit that uses R22 refrigerant, this ruling is bound to have a major impact on your ownership and upkeep, both immediately and over the long term. The biggest change will come financially.
Put simply, the United States ruling to outlaw R22 brings an increase in the price of the remaining Freon. This boils down to supply and demand. As the supply of R22 has officially been cut off, the price will rise until the demand eventually fades away. But why does this change the price of repairs and maintenance? Well, since many R22 unit repairs require the recharging of Freon, the use of the remaining R22 supply will be necessary for those repairs. This means that owners of R22 systems will most likely end up paying dearly for the change.
Additionally, this change will eventually push many current R22 systems off the main stage until they become obsolete. For system owners, this could mean difficulty finding replacement parts and other necessary repair items when the time comes.
Examining Options: What Can You Do About It?
Firstly, it is important to note that this law does not affect your right to own and continue using an R22-dependent HVAC system. If your machine is working properly and you don’t need additional refrigerant at this time, then this is more about thinking ahead to that next repair. Because when that time comes, you’ll be paying much more than you would have for the same repair in years prior. So, what can you do about it?
Options for Current R22 Owners:
- Leave the system as it is.
- Alter your equipment to make it compatible with a current refrigerant.
- Upgrade your system.
Leaving your system as it is may sound like the best option at first. Most consumers want to get the most out of their purchases, which of course includes stretching the amount of time a product remains useful. And that principle is especially true with major appliances. The problem in this particular scenario is that necessary repairs are inevitable. Eventually, that system is going to need a repair that requires recharging the R22. Under normal circumstances, the longer you have to wait between necessary repairs, the more money you save.
But with obsolete equipment, the opposite is true. R22 owners who sit out the change and wait for the next repair may find themselves baffled at the price when the time comes. The more time that passes between the new law going into effect and your repair date, the more expensive the repair will become. After all, the supply of reclaimed R22 will continue to dwindle with the loss of production. Unfortunately, your aging system could need to get fixed at any time, leaving you less likely to be fully prepared and able to afford the damages. So while the “leave-as-is” option is enticing, it comes with a high risk.
Retrofitting is the term used to describe converting old equipment to work with newer properties. In this case, you could convert your R22 dependent unit to work with an up-to-date refrigerant. It should be noted that this is not possible with all systems, so individual research is crucial if you plan on attempting this solution.
Also, you might find that this course of action would be cost-prohibitive in the long run, much like the first option but for very different reasons. Converting old equipment is rarely cheap, and it requires extensive know-how or professional help in many cases. So be sure to weigh your options and costs in great detail before going this route.
Upgrading your system is easily the most proactive and secure option for adapting to the R22 phase-out. Looking at the situation through an objective lens, you will see the reality that any system still using R22, on top of now being obsolete, is also dated. This means that no matter what you do with your current system, it will need to be replaced fairly soon. So even though waiting for an expensive repair or throwing money at your old equipment might buy you some time, you’ll inevitably need to upgrade your system.
Replacing your R22 system with a newer system now is the best way to get ahead of the problem. Plus, you’ll save money on costly repairs or retrofitting for a machine that will need to be replaced soon anyway. This option also allows you to more accurately predict the necessary cost while the other options leave much to be discovered.
Additional Benefits of Upgrading Your System
Air conditioning technology has come a long way in recent years. With efficiency and energy conservation becoming increasingly important, the newest systems on the market are designed to produce the best results with the least amount of impact on the environment and your wallet.
Although it comes with an upfront cost, upgrading your air conditioning system now means saving money in the near and distant future. With that increase in efficiency comes a decrease in monthly utility bills as well as the bonus of enjoying a more accurate temperature setting in your home.
We Care Plumbing, Heating, Air & Solar Has You Covered
Serving Southern California, We Care Plumbing, Heating, Air & Solar is your best bet for all your HVAC needs. We specialize in replacing air conditioning and HVAC systems for residents in Murrieta, Orange and the surrounding areas.
Our crew also does load calculations before installing new air conditioning systems. This portion of our service is especially important here in California as it maximizes your Energy Efficiency Rebates and saves you more money on overworked air conditioning systems in the desert heat.
Speaking of energy efficiency, We Care is highly dedicated installing HVAC systems that are entirely in line with the stringent yet effective Energy Star Standards. We want our air conditioning units to be at the cutting edge of efficiency.
Aside from air conditioning, our team at We Care also specializes in plumbing, heating, and solar. Our team members are experts in their given fields and will provide the ultimate in customer service and knowledge. We take pride in our work and know that our customers take pride in what we do for them too.
Call We Care Plumbing, Heating & Solar for more information today.