My AC Uses R-22 Refrigerant: What Do I Do?

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) placed a ban on the production and import of R-22 refrigerant, or Freon, with the 2010 Clean Air Act. While the ban on this ozone-depleting compound went into effect on January 1, 2020, there are many air conditioners still in use that require R-22. These are primarily units built before 2010. The old refrigerant is being phased out and is increasingly more difficult and expensive to find, leaving AC owners wondering what to do.

Newer air conditioners use R-410A refrigerant, which is chlorine-free and more eco-friendly. However, it is not illegal to use an R-22 system. In fact, if yours is still working, then there’s no need to make any changes. It’s when an issue occurs that you may need to face the following choices:

Recharge Your AC

Dwindling stockpiles of R-22 refrigerant remain, so it may be possible to recharge the system. As supplies are being depleted, the price of R-22 is getting steeper. You’ll also need a certified HVAC technician who is legally authorized to acquire and handle the refrigerant. Obtaining reclaimed refrigerant may also be an option. In any case, it’s only going to get more difficult to find Freon for older ACs.

Retrofit Your System

An AC technician cannot simply add R-410A to a system designed for R-22. Since each type of refrigerant requires different pressure levels, they can’t be used interchangeably (however, R-421A refrigerant can be used as a substitute in R-22 systems). Retrofitting an existing system is often called a “drop-in” replacement. A licensed contractor must perform an engineering analysis and then make major changes to your air conditioning system. And when old refrigerants are disposed of, strict EPA regulations must be followed.

Replace Your Air Conditioner

If you think that your R-22 air conditioner is nearing the end of its life, or dealing with another expensive repair seems illogical, it’s time to consider replacing it. Putting money into an older unit can get a couple more years out of it. But with energy efficiency and fewer repair needs of a new AC, you could save in the long run, despite paying for equipment and installation. By not waiting for an urgent situation in which your house is too hot or too cold, you can take the time to find the right system. You’ll have an opportunity to compare reviews, costs, and efficiencies as well as evaluate the latest features and benefits.

Repair vs. Replacement

Just because you’re facing an AC issue, does that mean it’s time to replace it? Not necessarily. Even if your air conditioner is making noise, the cause is often easy for a trained technician to fix. That’s unless the compressor has failed, in which case it makes sense to replace the unit. Most electrical issues can be corrected. But oftentimes, AC owners are finding that fixing a refrigerant leak or adding refrigerant to an R-22 system is prohibitively expensive. 

Fetch-A-Tech technicians will evaluate your system and discuss the best options for you. This requires a comprehensive inspection that checks the condition of your AC and estimates how much life it has left. We are focused on finding cost-effective, permanent solutions with the greatest benefits to our clients.

Contact Fetch-A-Tech

Throughout Las Vegas, homeowners rely on Fetch-A-Tech for high-quality air conditioner repair and installation services. We provide a guarantee on all repairs so you can be assured we’ll fix it right. All equipment installed is first sized according to your requirements. Whether your AC can be fixed, or you want a new unit that doesn’t rely on R-22 refrigerant, schedule an appointment or call 702-623-9306 today.

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