R-22, also known as Freon, has historically been one of the most common refrigerants used in air conditioning units and other cooling applications. However, its use has been steadily getting phased out since 2010 by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) due to some of the negative effects it has been shown to have on the earth’s ozone layer.
Since that time, there has been a massive reduction in how much R-22 is being produced in the United States, leading to a significant increase in the cost of R-22 for homeowners. By 2020, R-22 will no longer be produced or imported in the United States at all, which means homeowners who have older AC units that rely on that coolant will likely need to upgrade to a new unit.
Therefore, if you are still using R-22 as your primary refrigerant for your commercial HVAC in Eugene, OR, it’s time to start preparing for the full phase-out, which is less than two years away.
How do I know if my HVAC system uses R-22?
If you have an older air conditioner or heat pump, there’s a chance it’s reliant on the use of R-22. You can check your unit to make sure of this before you start worrying about paying for a replacement.
First, look at the nameplate on the side of the outdoor unit. It may very well indicate the presence of R-22 with a note that says “Contains HCFC-22” or “Contains R-22.” You can also check the owner’s manual for the equipment if you have it, or contact the company that installed the equipment in your business for you.
If you have the manufacturer’s name and the model number of the equipment, you can also look up the information online to find all the specifications you need, including the type of refrigerant used by the system. If you schedule a tune-up of your HVAC system, you can have your service technician tell you the type of refrigerant the system takes.
What else do I need to know?
Fortunately, if you had your system installed after 2011, there’s nothing to worry about—you’re very likely not affected at all by the R-22 phase-out. Even if your system was installed before then and/or uses R-22 refrigerant, you still don’t need to be concerned unless your system requires some type of repair that would involve adding or removing refrigerant.
Still, the phase-out is important to keep in mind when you consider the costs of making repairs to your system. Knowing that the refrigerant your system uses is obsolete, you might decide it’s more worthwhile to purchase an entirely new system, especially if your system is already on the older side.
Going forward, the most popular choice for refrigerant is expected to be R-410A, a hydrofluorocarbon that does not damage the ozone, and is even more efficient than R-22.
For more information about the phase out and how it could affect you, contact the team at American Refrigeration Inc. about commercial HVAC in Eugene, OR.