What Does the R-22 Phase-Out Mean for You and Your Home Heating and Cooling System?
Freon, or R-22, the most common refrigerant in residential air conditioners over the past several decades, will be illegal to import or manufacture starting January 1, 2020. How does this affect you and your home heating and cooling system? Here’s everything you need to know about the new regulations and what you should do if you’re still using an R-22 HVAC system.
What is the R-22 phase out?
In 2010, the EPA banned the production of any new systems that used R-22 due to its harmful effects on the ozone layer. In addition, they mandated a complete ban on manufacturing or importing the chemical itself starting January 1, 2020.
What is R-22?
Freon is the common name for HCFC-22 and R-22 — the chemicals that are the most popular refrigerants that have been used in AC units over the past decades. In a properly working unit, your Freon level shouldn’t change. However, if a repair is needed and the Freon leaks, replacing this Freon will be difficult and increasingly expensive.
What type of coolant is legal?
The EPA has a list of acceptable coolants for multiple products. All Trane units manufactured since 2010 use R-410A.
What does the R-22 phase out mean for me?
Honestly, it depends. First thing you need to know is whether your current system uses R-22 or not. If it does, you can continue to service your system but at some point in the future, any replacement Freon will be increasingly hard to get and more expensive - so an upgrade to a newer model may make more sense rather than costly repairs.
How do I know if my air conditioner uses R-22?
If you’ve purchased a new HVAC system since 2010 you should be fine. However, if you have an older system, you can check your unit to find out what type of coolant is uses. Look for the sticker on the side, if it says “HCFC-22 or R-22” your system uses the older coolant that the EPA is phasing out.
I have an older air conditioner that uses R-22. Do I need to replace it?
No. If your system is running smoothly, you don’t need to change a thing. Your Freon levels should not change in a properly running system. However, if you have a leak or other issue, replacement R-22 will be hard to find and expensive. You may find that a newer air conditioner makes more sense now and over time.
Can I swap out R-22 for an approved coolant in my unit?
For some systems, it’s possible to retrofit your current unit to operate with one of the approved coolants. However, depending on your unit and the type of coolant it uses, this process can either be very simple or incredibly difficult and expensive. Talk to a Trane Comfort Specialist to see what's possible for your system.
Here’s what we recommend
If you have an R-22 system and are still concerned, reach out to your local Trane Comfort Specialist. They’ll evaluate your current system, check for any leaks and walk you through some of the cost benefits of replacing your older system with a more energy efficient system.