In recent years, there has been a lot of focus on new refrigerant products. While many are aware of changes for automotive air conditioning systems, the awareness is somewhat limited for homeowners dealing with their HVAC systems. Freon use in the United States is being reduced over time based on terms agreed to in the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that is aimed at protecting the ozone layer. The personal impact of this R-22 phase-out will vary based on your current system.
New Equipment Standards
While the Montreal Protocol dates back to the mid-1980s, the stepped implementation of varying standards extends for many decades into the future. The expectation is that adherence to the treaty will enable recovery of the ozone layer by 2050.
Effective January 1, 2010, Freon could no longer be used in new equipment. Most HVAC equipment manufactured since that time will use Puron, an environmentally-friendly material that doesn’t contribute to ozone depletion. If you installed an air conditioner or heat pump after 2010, then you shouldn’t be affected by the R-22 issues. If you aren’t sure, you can check your system documents for clarification.
Options for Owners of Older HVAC Systems
If your system was manufactured prior to 2010, you may face some challenges related to the diminishing use of Freon. Although the product may still be available, the continued commitment of the United States to decrease use of the material means that supplies will continue to dwindle. One of the resulting concerns is that costs will go up.
You can have your refrigerant levels checked during seasonal maintenance visits. If your levels are low, there may be higher costs for refrigerant replacement with R-22 as pricing fluctuates. You can also discuss the possibility of an R-22 retrofit with your technician. There are some definite advantages of considering this solution, including:
- More affordable refrigerant replacement
- Extended life of your existing system
- Simple procedure
- Positive impact on the environment
Opting for an R-22 retrofit allows you to do your part to help the environment and the ozone layer without having to completely overhaul your HVAC system. It is important to note that conversion to Puron in your existing system is dependent on many technical issues. For example, this material operates at higher pressures, meaning that it must be used with specially designed parts and lines. There are additional alternative refrigerants to consider that may be able to be used in existing lines.
You also have the option to upgrade your heating and air conditioning system. Newer models not only use the proper refrigerant, they are more energy efficient which results in lower monthly energy bills.
Dent Air Conditioning technicians can provide an in-depth analysis of your system. We can evaluate the life expectancy of your equipment, providing you with a realistic view of how much longer your R-22 system can be expected to function. While some of our Jackson, MS customers decide that a retrofit is beneficial, others choose to continue with the status quo. If you are thinking about a retrofit, give us a call to discuss your system.