How Does Air Conditioning Refrigerant Phaseout Affect Me?

August 05, 2020

You might not think often about how your air conditioner works, but it has to have refrigerant to keep your home cool. This refrigerant is subject to environmental laws, since it contains chemicals.

Depending on when your air conditioner was added to your home, it may use R-22, R-410A or R-32 refrigerant. We’ll review the differences and which air conditioner refrigerants are being phased out in Hudsonville, as well as how these phaseouts impact you.

What’s R-22 and Why is It No Longer Being Made?

If your air conditioner was put in before 2010, it probably contains Freon®. You can learn if your air conditioner uses it by contacting us at (616) 669-3961. You can also look at the name plate on your air conditioner condenser, which is located outside your residence. This sticker will contain info on what kind of refrigerant your AC has.

Freon, which is also known as R-22, contains chlorine. Scientists consider this chemical to be bad for the earth’s ozone layer and one that leads to global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency, which controls refrigerants in the United States, barred its manufacture and import in January 2020.

Should I Replace My R-22 Air Conditioner?

It differs. If your air conditioning is operating as designed, you can continue to keep it. With routine air conditioner maintenance, you can expect your system to run around 15–20 years. However, the Department of Energy says that substituting a 10-year-old air conditioner could save you 20–40% on summertime cooling costs!

If you don’t install a new air conditioner, it can lead to difficulties if you have to have air conditioning repair down the road, specifically for refrigerant. Repairs might be pricier, because only small quantities of recycled and reclaimed R-22 is on hand.

With the phaseout of R-22, a lot of new air conditioners now have Puron®. Also known as R-410A, this refrigerant was developed to keep the ozone layer strong. Because it calls for a varying pressure level, it doesn’t work with air conditioners that rely on R-22 for cooling.

However, Puron still has the possibility to contribute to global warming. As a consequence, it could also eventually be phased out. Although it hasn’t been disclosed yet for residential air conditioners, it’s likely sometime this decade.

What Refrigerant Will Replace R-410A?

In preparation of the phaseout, some manufacturers have begun using R-32 in new air conditioners. This refrigerant rates low for global warming likelihood—around one-third less than R-410A. And it also decreases energy use by approximately 10%, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report. That’s savings that might be sent on to you through your electrical costs.

West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services Can Help with All Your Air Conditioning Needs

In summary, the modifications to air conditioner refrigerant probably won’t impact you greatly until you need repairs. But as we reviewed beforehand, repairs connected to refrigerant can be more costly because of the reduced levels available.

Not to mention, your air conditioner usually malfunctions at the worst time, frequently on the warmest day when we’re experiencing many other calls for AC repair.

If your air conditioner uses a phased out refrigerant or is aging, we recommend upgrading to a new, energy-efficient air conditioner. This ensures a hassle-free summer and might even lower your cooling bills, especially if you get an ENERGY STAR®-rated model. Plus, West Michigan Heating & Air Conditioning Services has many financing programs to make your new air conditioner work with your budget. Contact us at (616) 669-3961 to start today with a free estimate.