What the heck is R-22 and why should I care about it? For those in the HVAC industry, this is something we’ve been discussing for nearly a decade and it’s now time to massively educate our customers, both residential and commercial.
R-22 refrigerant has been used in air conditioning systems for decades. The EPA has set a deadline for its obsolescence on January 1, 2020. Its replacement in residential and light commercial applications, R-410A, was invented in 1991 but did not become prevalent until the past 10 years.
With the deadline looming for the the phase-out, inventory is running out and the costs of R-22 is skyrocketing. Many repairs to systems involve the removal and the replacement of refrigerant from the system in order to make that repair. We’ve seen R-22 costs of 3-4 times that of R-410A and these numbers will continue to climb as inventories are depleted. If your system is older than 10 years, there’s a good chance that it contains R-22.
So what should you do?
You have several options. You can do nothing and let it ride for as long as you can. You keep your fingers crossed that your system will live out its useful life and fail conveniently in the Spring or Fall when you don’t need heating or air conditioning. Or, you can be proactive and begin looking at options now. This will avoid that last minute, inconvenient failure that occurs when you can least afford it. By looking ahead, you can coordinate it when manufacturers and contractors are slower and are offering better rebates and pricing. It also avoids the issue that can occur when contractors are busy and can’t get to your project for weeks due to backlog of work. Don’t be caught unprepared…you’ve been given fair warning.
For additional information, see the link to an excellent article on air2o.com