If you have an older air conditioner or heat pump, you’ve probably heard a bit about the R-22 phase-out. We’ve fielded many questions about this change, and we’re here to set the record straight on what it is and what you should do about it.

What Is R-22 Refrigerant?

Refrigerants are special chemicals that can assume either liquid or gas form at close to room temperature, which makes them an essential part of modern HVAC systems. At the evaporator coil, the liquid refrigerant absorbs heat, becoming gaseous. The system then pumps the refrigerant gas to the condenser coil, where it’s forced to become liquid again and release that heat. Both air conditioners and heat pumps use refrigerants to transfer heat as appropriate.

For many years, R-22, commonly known as Freon, was the most commonly used refrigerant in residential and light commercial air conditioners in the United States. However, concerns about environmental impact led to the R-22 phase-out.

Why Is R-22 Refrigerant Being Phased Out?

R-22 is in a class of chemicals called ozone-depleting substances (ODS), which means it contributes to the hole in the ozone layer. As a result, under the Clean Air Act, R-22 is being phased out. No systems manufactured in the United States since 2010 have used R-22.

What Do I Do If My System Is Affected?

If you are still using an air conditioner manufactured before 2010, your system most likely uses R-22. Some recycled R-22 is still available to service existing systems, so you do have the option of sticking with your current air conditioner and having it recharged using recycled refrigerant.

However, as even the newest systems affected by the phase-out are now almost a decade old, our recommendation is to consider upgrading to a new system. A new air conditioner will not only be better for the environment as it uses new R-410a refrigerant but will also provide you with more efficient and effective cooling. For more information, check out our products online or call (336) 790-3206.