Here in Southwest Florida, where we use our cooling systems most of the year, you should know about an important change in the kind of refrigerant you’ll be able to use in your air conditioner. The R-22 refrigerant that your A/C is probably using now is being phased out of production. Expect prices to climb and availability to fall as this phaseout progresses.
Actually, this is not a new development. An international agreement called the Montreal Protocol in 1987 established a phaseout of chlorofluorocarbons, which harm the Earth’s ozone layer. Over the following years, the protocol was modified and amended. A modification in 1992 established a phaseout of hydrochlorofluorocarbons. HCFC-22 is also known as R-22. One of its brand names is Freon. The U.S. is enforcing the protocol through the Clean Air Act, and the phaseout is scheduled to be almost entirely in force by 2020.
What does this mean if you own an air conditioner that uses R-22? There could be R-22 refrigerant shortages and R-22 prices are expected to double or triple, so the cost of maintaining your air conditioner could go up. You don’t have to run out and buy a new air conditioner, but you might want to consider doing just that. Why?
- If you have an older air conditioner, it’s probably much less energy efficient than today’s models. A new model will help you hold down your energy costs.
- You’ll know you’re helping the environment by making your carbon footprint smaller. Your new air conditioner will use an environmentally healthier R-410a.
If you really can’t afford to replace your air conditioner at the moment, make sure you schedule timely maintenance. Maintenance will help you avoid costly leaks and the need to replace your refrigerant. And schedule that maintenance sooner, rather than later, as the cost of R-22 will keep rising.
At Conditioned Air, we can help make the right decision for your unique situation. Serving Southwest Florida, we maintain cooling systems and sell a range of air conditioners. Give us a call or visit our website.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about air conditioners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
Carbon footprint image via Shutterstock