Many households are unaware of the R-22 phaseout, and the ways in which it may affect them in the near future. In order to avoid any stress or expenses associated with the impending ban on R-22, it is imperative that you take a few moments to educate yourself on why the refrigerant is being phased out, what it could mean for the system you have in your Mount Pleasant, Texas home.
Why is R-22 being Phased Out?
For nearly four decades, R-22 refrigerant has been the “go to” cooling agent for air conditioning systems, heat pumps and refrigeration units, so why is it now being phased out? As a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), R-22 contains chlorine. Chlorine is a contributor to the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer, so leaders from all around the globe came together to come up with a plan to ban the use of R-22, and replace it with a more environmentally friendly refrigerant. This plan, known as the Montreal Protocol, lays out the schedule for phasing the refrigerant out. Along with 196 other countries, the United States signed the agreement, and it is carefully enforced by the Environmental Protection Association (EPA). The initial phase of the R-22 refrigerant phaseout began in 2010. This marked the first year in which manufacturers were no longer permitted to produce cooling equipment that utilized R-22 as its refrigerant. As such, homeowners with air conditioners that were installed prior to this cutoff date may be affected by the next phases of the plan.
How the R-22 Phaseout Affects You
Homeowners with cooling systems that are more than three years old may begin to feel the effects of the R-22 refrigerant phaseout in the coming years. Because the end goal of the Montreal Protocol is to actualize a complete ban on the production and usage of R-22 (by the year 2020), the EPA is now strictly regulating the amount of new refrigerant that may legally be manufactured each year. As the years tick by, less and less of R-22 will be permitted to be produced. For example, the total allowance for the production of R-22 in 2013 is 39 million pounds. In contrast to this, 55 million pounds was allowed to be produced in 2012, and nearly double that amount was produced in 2011, at a staggering 100 million pounds. Incredibly, within a two-year window of time, the allowable production of R-22 has been decreased by nearly 60 percent.
This significant reduction in R-22 refrigerant production means that it may be more difficult and expensive for your HVAC contractor to access it. Ultimately, this could lead to dramatic spikes in the costs of cooling system repairs, service, and maintenance. In the years approaching 2020, the production of R-22 will only diminish further. Because of this, even a seemingly simple refrigerant leak could result in an extremely pricey repair invoice. And although recycled R-22 will be permitted for AC repairs and maintenance beyond 2020, the costs may be more extreme than the service is worth.
What Are Your Options?
Since the 2010 ban on the production of R-22-reliant cooling systems, new air conditioners are being designed to use a refrigerant known as R-410A. R-410 does not contain chlorine, which is why the EPA has approved this more “ozone friendly” refrigerant. Instead of waiting around for costly problems to arise, many savvy homeowners are making the decision to be proactive and replace their older R-22 air conditioners with units that utilize R-410A now. Upgrading your cooling system this year will not only help you to evade issues associated with the R-22 refrigerant phaseout, but it can also offer numerous other benefits. By choosing an R-410A air conditioner, you will be doing your part to help the environment. As an added bonus, investing in a new A/C will actually help you to save money. Today’s units are designed to run far more efficiently, and the government is showing its gratitude to households that switch to energy-smart HVAC systems. As of 2013, if you have a new, compliant system installed, you could be eligible to earn significant federal tax credits.
You can learn more about the R-22 refrigerant phaseout or obtain a quote on replacing your air conditioner by contacting Wood Air Conditioning & Plumbing today at 903-285-6550. We are proud to provide home comfort services to homeowners in Mount Pleasant and surrounding communities.
Image provided by Shutterstock