R-22 Refrigerant? What is that anyway?
Many of you may be aware; however, we in the HVAC community take for granted some of the common lingo and terms within our industry. In short, R-22 Refrigerant makes the air in your air conditioner cool. Sure it has help from other components, but R-22 Refrigerant is a significant reason in which Houstonians can find a bit of relief from the everyday Texan sun which persists without mercy.
And yet, soon it will be no more.
At least that’s part of the story. Texas and well the world are changing laws and working to find refrigerants that leave less of a strain on our ozone and help our environment.
The issue at hand?
Air conditioners all across this great city are using R-22 to keep residents cool, and the loss of this coolant has some homeowners wondering what these new law changes mean for their AC units.
Not to worry, our guide can provide clarity as to what to expect with the new R-22 Refrigerant laws and how they will affect your systems and answer your questions along the way.
When are The R-22 Refrigerant Laws Going Into Effect?
The new laws involving R-22 Refrigerant are going into effect in January of 2020, but things are a little more complicated than that.
R-22 was phased-out back in 2010, and while its use isn’t being prohibited, its use in manufacturing new air conditioning units and the importing of the coolant is no longer allowed.
You Likely Don’t Have to Replace Your Air Conditioner (Yet)
While an air conditioner replacement is inevitable and can be recommended in some cases, current AC units have no reason to fear just yet.
The R-22 Refrigerant has been recycled and collected since 2010 when it began phasing-out R-22 Refrigerant in preparation for this event. Air conditioning companies have ample supply that should be able to last the lifetime of most if not all units currently in existence using R-22 Refrigerant. In fact, there are reportedly hundreds of millions of pounds of R-22 Refrigerant still available. Brands like Trane discontinued the need for R-22 Refrigerant in their AC units back in 2010 to lessen the demand in newer models.
Units have a typical lifespan of about 10-20 years and while in Houston, the average air conditioner may fall towards to shorter side, 15 years is not an unreasonable amount of time with proper air conditioning maintenance and a little good luck.
Basically, if your unit was made before 2010, you likely need a replacement soon, and if it was manufactured afterward, you’re okay for the time being.
Where do we go from Here?
As a homeowner, you have a couple of options at your disposal in terms of how you wish to handle your air conditioning needs today and in the future:
- Convert your current air conditioning unit. Not always the cheapest or simplest option but an option nonetheless. Some air conditioners can be converted into units that use an approved coolant as opposed to R-22 Refrigerant. It is important to see if this makes sense for your situation and finances. Speak to a certified technician before deciding if converting your AC unit to use another coolant is right for you.
- Wait it out and replace things normally. This could be a viable option for many homeowners who would rather forgo the expense of replacing a new air conditioner for a few years. The one thing to remember is that prices for refilling your unit with R-22 Refrigerant may rise as the coolant becomes more and more scarce.
- Replace your current air conditioning unit and upgrade it. If your unit was created in 2009 or 2010, it is important to realize that your home’s air conditioner is beginning to enter the beginning of the end. Upgrading now can help prevent headaches or future coolant costs later.
The most important thing you can do as a homeowner is to assess your situation. Next, speak with a trained, licensed team that is equipped to provide your AC units proper solutions that fit your individual needs. The team at Cruz Air & Electric is ready to handle your air conditioning needs today and in the future.
Robert Cruz and his team have been providing air conditioning service for Humble, TX, and the surrounding areas for decades and have the tools and expertise to find the perfect solution to your air conditioning needs.
Contact us today and see if converting, replacing, or upgrading your air conditioner to handle the changes in the new R-22 Refrigerant laws is right for you.