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If you have an older air conditioning unit, chances are good that your system uses R22 refrigerant, also known as Freon. Freon has been in use for a long time and was used extensively for its effectiveness at cooling. However, it's also an ozone-depleting chemical and its production has been phased out as part of a planned effort to stop further damage to the ozone layer. If your air conditioning unit develops a leak and loses coolant, you won't be able to use R22 refrigerant. But does this change also mean replacing your air conditioning unit, too? Explore the following three things you need to know about the phasing out of R22 refrigerant.
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How to Deal With an Aging Air Conditioning Unit
When you have an older unit that uses R22 refrigerant and it needs repairs, you are not without options in the event you don't or can't replace the unit completely. While R22 refrigerant is still available, it comes from existing inventory and can be expensive. Another option is retrofitting your existing unit. It may be possible to remove the parts that use R22 refrigerant and replace them with parts that use the new refrigerants. Contact an HVAC services company about scheduling a technician to inspect your unit and determine the best approach for extending the life of the unit.
Will the Price of Air Conditioning Units Increase?
Newer versions of refrigerants have been around long enough that their production levels are steady and the prices are reasonable. Their use doesn't add an appreciable amount of cost to operating an air conditioning system. Inflation and fluctuation in the cost of materials used in the production of the units are far more likely to make the price of an air conditioning unit increase. You may be surprised to learn that the cost of air conditioning units has increased, especially if 20 years have passed since you had a unit installed.
Is My Old Unit Considered Illegal If It Uses Freon?
Homeowners who have an older unit using R22 refrigerant can appreciate this valid concern. The good news is that your older system is not illegal even though an ongoing phaseout of the use of R22 is taking place. Naturally, not every homeowner using an air conditioning system with R22 refrigerant can replace the unit with one that uses safer refrigerants. Even if your unit is using R22 refrigerant, you don't have to replace it immediately. When the time comes to replace your air conditioning system completely, the HVAC technician who removes the old unit will have training on how to handle the unit and prevent the release of R22 refrigerant into the atmosphere so that you don't have to worry about disposing of the unit.
The phasing out of R22 refrigerant is a big step forward in protecting the ozone layer, but it's a step that affects you only when your system becomes unable to operate properly. In the meantime, relax and enjoy the cool air until the unit shows signs that it needs replacing.