Technician working on a unit outdoors.

What You Should Know About R-22 in 2020

Keeping a house cool during a Deep South summer is vital to the comfort and even the health of your family. But how much do you know about the unit that keeps you cool?

For instance, was your cooling system installed before 2010? If so, it likely operates with R-22 refrigerant, a chemical compound that is no longer produced or imported to the United States.

While this doesn’t mean your well-functioning unit should be put out to pasture, it does mean it’s in its twilight years. Here’s why:

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs, are chemicals mainly used as refrigerants. The release of HCFCs depletes the ozone layer and contributes to climate change. Because R-22 is an HCFC refrigerant, the United States began phasing out its use 2010, with the phaseout ending in 2020.

With air conditioning and heat pump systems lasting 15 years or more, your unit may have years of reliable service ahead. But having the unit repaired could cost more now as only recovered, recycled or reclaimed supplies of R-22 HCFC refrigerants are available. Likewise, not all HVAC technicians are qualified to service your unit; technicians must have EPA Section 608 certification to service equipment containing R-22.

If your unit needs repairs, you should weigh whether it’s more cost-efficient to repair or replace the unit. New energy-efficient air conditioning systems can help you save on your monthly utility bill.

Since 2010, air conditioning systems that use alternative refrigerants have been the industry standard. The most common alternative R-22 replacement refrigerant is R-410A, a non-ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) refrigerant blend. R-410A is manufactured under various names, including Genetron AZ-20, SUVA 410A, and Puron refrigerant, a trademark of Carrier Corporation, which introduced the first R-410A air conditioning unit in 1996.

At Air Care Systems, our technicians are qualified to help you make the right decision about whether to repair your R-22 system or replace it with a new energy-efficient system. We’re an authorized Carrier dealer, and we service all makes and models of HVAC units.

Give us a call at (256) 537-9987 if your air conditioning system needs service.