If you are like a majority of homeowners, the chances are that you rely on your air conditioning unit during the summer to keep you cool and comfortable. And whether it is in your home or car, a majority of the air conditioners that were manufactured before the year 2003 utilize Freon as the refrigerant which cools down the warm air. Freon is one of the many chlorofluorocarbons which have been linked with the depletion of the ozone layer. And if you have not already heard, the refrigerant standards have changed thus requiring homeowners to be extra careful with their air conditioning units.
Why is the R-22 Refrigerant Being Phased Out?
The R-22 refrigerant, which is also referred to as Freon has been found to contain some ozone-depleting properties. It is for this reason that the Environmental Protection Agency has stepped in to make it a requirement that all air conditioners and heat pumps no longer use Freon as a refrigerant. For many years, R-22 Freon was the industry standard for almost all air conditioning systems and is still currently being manufactured for purposes of maintaining and repairing the existing equipment. However, after January 1, 2020, R-22 will neither be imported nor manufactured in the United States. And for this reason, the scarcity of this refrigerant has resulted in a price hike.
How Freon Works
There is usually a system if compressors and coils in every air conditioning unit. Your Ac usually compresses the R-22 gas, making it extremely hot. When the R-22 gas moves through these coils, it is cooled down to a liquid. In its liquid form, this refrigerant absorbs heat from the surrounding atmosphere and then pushes the cold air to the outside. It is this constant cycle of warm air in and cool air out which provides comfort in your car and home.
Each AC unit requires a refrigerant to cool all the air. If the coolant leaks, the air conditioner will stop blowing cold air. What’s even worse is that most of the coolant leaks are usually harmful to the ozone. Most of the air conditioning units manufactured after the year 2003 don’t use Freon as the main refrigerant because strict regulations have been placed on Freon use thus making it costlier to maintain. It is equally important to note that not all problems related to an air conditioning unit which blows hot air is linked to the refrigerant. You might need to install a better thermostat or change the filter. There is absolutely no reason why your refrigerant should just deplete on its own. If you realize that the Freon or any other cooling agent has a low level, the chances are that there is a leak.
Freon At Home
As mentioned earlier, if your system was manufactured later than 2003, it probably utilizes a safer refrigerant. And if it was produced after 2010, it obviously uses a completely different refrigerant for cooling. With the ongoing phase-out, it might become more expensive to utilize Freon, and this will eventually encourage homeowners to replace their older air conditioner models with some more ozone-friendly models. This will not only reduce the repair costs but also provide more efficient heating and cooling, which will help save you a lot of money on the utility bills.
And while you will not be required to cease using R-22 refrigerant immediately, the extensive phase out timespan is designed to give you enough time to make the necessary switch because the items in your home are also getting older. If you are in possession of a household item that uses R-22 refrigerant, ensure that it is well-maintained to reduce the impact it could have on the environment before you can replace it.
It is advisable that you properly dispose of all old items that could contain R-22. In most cases, your retailer will take down the older unit while they are installing the new unit. Some landfills and scrap yards might need sufficient proof that the R-22 refrigerant was removed before they can accept any of your items. It is always essential that you check to ensure that you are adhering to all safety guidelines. Make sure that your technician is competitively trained in removing Freon before letting them work on your air conditioner. You should not remove the compressor or cut the refrigerant lines by yourself if you want to have your specific item accepted by your disposal facility. For purposes of taking care of the environment, it is important that you take care of the R-22 Freon refrigerant in your product before it can make its way into the atmosphere.
New Homeowner Upgrades
If your air conditioning unit still used R-22 Freon, there are some more environmentally-friendly options which you could go for. And while this is not the recommended solution, it is definitely a good temporary fix. Rather than just replacing your ozone-depleting refrigerant, contractors often recommend upgrading to a newer and higher efficiency AC unit. Any HVAC unit that will be purchased after the January 1, 2020 deadline will need to be using the R410A refrigerant which is a more environmentally-friendly option. Some refrigerant manufacturers like Lennox Industries are already using R410A in their current systems and have been on this path for several years now.
In a bid to try and circumvent the current R-22 restrictions, manufacturers have invented air conditioning units referred to as dry charge systems. While these systems have been designed to use the R-22 refrigerant, the main difference is that rather than shipping with this refrigerant already inside, it is added during the installation process. In addition, a majority of homeowners have already retrofitted their systems to the MO99 refrigerant.
With all these and many other refrigerant options such as refrigerant by bluon energy available, the best option, particularly for those who are environmentally conscious is upgrading to air conditioning systems which use the R410A refrigerant which is a safer alternative. If your air conditioner still uses R-22 Freon, there is the need for you to be worried about the impact this could have on the environment and change for the better.