When you switch on the AC or open your refrigerator, do you think of what goes into your cooling system? It’s true, we’re often so grateful for our air conditioning and refrigeration systems, we don’t think about the long term effects of an HVAC system. However, did you know that the primary cooling chemical used in our AC units, called R-22 (Freon), is no longer allowed to be imported starting this year?
Yes, starting in 2020, R-22 can no longer be shipped or produced in the United States thanks to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). So, if you’d like to know what’s going on with freon, and how it impacts your current HVAC system, keep reading.
You might be wondering at this point, what exactly is freon, and how is it relevant to your HVAC system? Freon is a type of refrigerant and cooling chemical that makes our AC cold and keeps food chilled in your refrigerator. It’s pretty important for maintaining a comfortable lifestyle and caring for our food and perishable goods.
However, there have been more and more signs pointing to the fact that freon, despite being important to our air conditioning systems, has been creating holes in the ozone. The chlorine in freon makes it more susceptible to ozone depletion, which is why R-22 will no longer be produced or imported to the USA.
Since freon can no longer be imported in the United States, you might be wondering: what does this mean for you and your HVAC unit? Well, we did our homework and can provide some answers for you.
If you have a functioning HVAC unit that currently uses R-22 you’re not going to be impacted anytime in the near future. There’s no need to replace a perfectly acceptable unit that’s still running. You’ll still be able to enjoy your current unit, and have it serviced like normal. Just keep this change in the back of your mind as your unit starts to age. There will still be available products and service replacements for the time being.
Depending on the age of your unit, and it’s current condition, you might have more factors to consider. For instance, if your heat pump ends up breaking, it will be difficult to decide if you can justify a repair versus a replacement. Repairing an older unit might end up costing you more in the long run.
Because R-22 is going to be a limited resource down the road, eventually it’s price will go up, making it less feasible to repair a unit. Installing a new HVAC unit is going to reduce long term costs because it will be able to take other alternative refrigerants.
When it comes to your unit, the best approach for your system is to talk to experienced HVAC professionals who can advise you on what to do if your older HVAC system needs to be replaced.
With future heating and cooling systems, there will be alternative refrigerants that are compatible with a variety of systems. The question is, which ones are ideal for your unit?
We recommend discussing your options with your local HVAC technician, like Swaim Electric, before you explore alternatives yourself. There are quite a few friendly refrigerants that could be compatible with your unit, such as:
However, in order to be sure which one is best for your heating and cooling system, it’s best to ask your technician. At the moment, our Trane units take R-410A, so your unit will be compatible with the new environmental changes being implemented.
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