Commonly used in air conditioners manufactured before 2010, R22 refrigerant has been illegal to produce or import in the U.S. since January 1, 2020. Although the EPA banned R22 from being made or sold in the U.S. in 2020, it did not ban consumers from continuing to use their R22 AC units. Instead, the EPA warned consumers with R22 units that the cost of replacing R22 refrigerant in their ACs would significantly increase as stockpiles of R22 shrunk. In other words, the less R22 available, the more expensive it would be to service a pre-2010 cooling system.
How Do You Know You Have an R22 AC Unit?
R22 refrigerant contains hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) that directly contribute to climate change by destroying the ozone layer. HCFCs are halogenated hydrocarbons that contain fluorine, carbon, chlorine, and hydrogen. In addition to being partially responsible for the greenhouse effect, HCFCs could pose a risk to the health of family members (due to leaks) and technicians handling these chemicals.
If you are unsure whether your AC unit uses R22, you can either check the owner’s manual to see if it says the unit requires R22. Some manuals may substitute HCFC-22 for R22, but both terms identify the same coolant. Outdoor compressors typically have a nameplate attached to them that references either R22 or HCFC-22 as well. You can also google the make and model of your AC unit, or contact the manufacturer directly. Of course, we’re also happy to help you determine what type of refrigerant your AC model uses.
Should You Keep or Replace an R22 AC Unit?
Recharging or refilling an R22 cooling system could cost thousands of dollars, depending on whether you can even find reclaimed or stockpiled R22 refrigerant. R22 unit owners have several alternative refrigerants available that can be used in older ACs. However, these alternatives require old R22 ACs to undergo retrofitting and component replacement that accommodates the chemical difference between R22 coolant and the alternatives to R22 coolant.
Owners of R22 ACs have three options: they can either pay for an expensive retrofitting (in addition to the alternative coolant), continue searching for reclaimed or stockpiled R22 (which is expected to be depleted in the near future), or take the best route by investing in a new cooling system.
Moreover, R22 replacement coolants have been found to cause rapid deterioration of older compressors that were probably in their last year of life, anyway. While R22 alternatives may seem like a quick fix, they’re likely to lead to unexpected system failures during times you need heat and air conditioning the most.
Benefits of Replacing an Old R22 Air Conditioning System
St. Louis and surrounding area residents with AC units over 10 years old regularly call Bone Heating & Cooling to schedule the installation of a new HVAC system. It doesn’t make sense to continue paying for high-priced R22 coolant and exorbitant repair bills for outdated cooling units when a replacement costs much less in the long run.
- Reduce energy bills
- Improve indoor comfort
- Have peace of mind
- Increase home value
Along with the benefits of ditching that R22 system for one that uses newer refrigerant technology, you’ll find plenty more reason to love the switch. A new air conditioner can completely upgrade your comfort! There’s plenty of great new features on the market today including smart home integration, indoor air quality upgrades, higher efficiency ratings and more. We’d be glad to walk you through what makes sense for your budget and home, and even help you calculate any potential savings you might get by upgrading.
Interested in Replacing Your Old AC Unit?
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If you have an old R22 unit and want to learn more about replacing that unit, please give us a call today to speak to one of our experts. We also offer financing options for those who qualify as well as warranties and guarantees.
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