R22, also known as “freon,” is a common type of refrigerant. Many homes still have HVAC systems that utilize R22 refrigerant—and this may include you. However, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) made the production of R22 illegal in the United States as of January 1st, 2020.
The phaseout of this refrigerant has led to a considerable increase in R22 prices. Below, we’ll discuss why the cost of R22 refrigerant is being impacted and the available solutions.
Why Does Your AC Need Refrigerant?
As a homeowner, you’re likely aware that your air conditioner uses something called refrigerant; but what does this fluid do, exactly? Essentially, an air conditioner’s refrigerant helps cool your home and keep your family comfortable.
Refrigerant is a crucial component to the function of your AC, so it’s understandable if you’re worried about the increase in R22 prices. Most air conditioning systems hold at least five pounds of refrigerant, and as the cost of R22 refrigerant continues to rise, it can be easy to panic. Let’s dive into why R22 is being phased out and what you can do to combat those climbing prices.
Why Is R22 Being Phased Out?
The EPA deemed R22 to be an ozone-depleting substance, and, as a result, the United States began phasing out the production of this specific type of refrigerant. In 2010, new equipment could no longer be manufactured with R22. As of 2020, R22 can also no longer be produced or imported into the country.
As one of the most common ozone-depleting substances, the phaseout of R22 is a step toward protecting the ozone layer. Nonetheless, you can continue to purchase and use R22 refrigerant that has been produced or recycled.
The Rising Costs of R22
Now that the production of R22 has been banned, the cost per pound of this refrigerant has risen considerably. In some instances, the price of R22 can typically range from $150 to $200 per pound—which is undoubtedly no minor expense.
The increase in R22 prices all comes down to supply and demand. As the supply of R22 continues to dwindle, prices will continue to skyrocket.
What Is the Right Solution for You?
So what are your options now that the price of R22 has skyrocketed and supply is dwindling? There are three solutions that you can consider.
- Use R22 While It’s Still Available
Fortunately, you can continue to purchase R-22 refrigerant while suppliers have it available. Environment Masters currently has R22 in stock, but it may not last through the summer.
- Retrofit Your Unit
If you are wary of the increase in R22 prices, there’s no reason to worry. At Environment Masters, our HVAC technicians can retrofit your existing unit to use a new, readily available refrigerant. This solution can effectively help you avoid the skyrocketing cost of R22 refrigerant. However, it’s worth noting that not all air conditioning units can be retrofitted to use a new refrigerant.
Although retrofitting is a viable option, it will decrease the capacity of your unit. Our team, specializing in air conditioner repair in Jackson, MS, can help you find the right solution for you and your needs.
- Replace Your AC System
Your third option is to replace your existing air conditioning system completely. If you have an older system prone to refrigerant leaks, a system upgrade could be the most cost-effective solution. Depending on the pounds of refrigerant you need, the increase in R22 prices could rival the cost of a replacement.
Environment Masters offers HVAC units that utilize R410A refrigerant, also called “puron.”
Contact the Helpful Environment Masters Team
The rising cost of R22 refrigerant can seem daunting, but Environment Masters is here to help. Our Jackson HVAC techs specialize in many central air services. We can retrofit your unit, replace your system, or provide you with R22 while supplies last. Get in touch with us today to learn more about our AC services!