A gradual phase out of the refrigerant R22 began when a ban was approved on January 1, 2010. In addition to domestic production, the amount of R22 that could be brought into the United States was slowly reduced. Though for the time being we can import it from other countries, R22 can no longer be manufactured in the United States as the timeline ended on January 1st, 2020. With this in mind, we at Absolute A/C & Plumbing would like to further discuss R22 availability.
Repairs for Older R22 Air Conditioners
Repairs are unaffected with ban since there is plenty of parts available to make necessary repairs on the older units. Most vendors stocked up on R22 prior to the ban going into effect so there are still considerable amounts of R22 available with them. Also, many experts recommend recovering the refrigerant from older systems. Some contractors are going as far as to buy the R22 back to them so that they can “reclaim” it and sell it back to us as new refrigerant.
Reclaimed R22 VS New Refrigerant
According to the EPA one is not better than the other. To meet strict standards for resale, the reclaiming process is regulated. The refrigerant is cleaned to a point that exceeds ARI-700 purity standards for companies assuming responsibility for reclaiming refrigerant. Before it can be sold, this standard is the exact same standard that new refrigerant is required to have. No remaining contaminants in the reclaimed refrigerant is ensured through this process. There is no difference between virgin refrigerant and reclaimed refrigerant according to one of the largest manufacturers of all refrigerants.
R22 Potential Costs Due to the Ban
The government actively tried to avoid excessive costs. The main reason behind the government mandated gradual phaseout is to avoid skyrocketing costs of R22. In 1995, a similar switch from R12 to R22 gave the government and industry officials a learning experience. The government did not do a phase out and the price of R12 did shoot astronomically higher during the switch. Learning from this mistake, they strived to phaseout the R22 gradually. As a result, there has not been a wide fluctuation in the cost of R22. However, no one can completely control the market and pricing.
Conversion or Replacement of R22 Air Conditioning Systems
When it does come to needing repairs for older R22 systems, owners should weigh the circumstances and decide if conversion is more feasible than a replacement. Consider the age of the unit, anything older than 15 years is likely better replacing. Consider the long-term goals of your property, as well as the repair costs versus the replacement costs. If repairs are 50% or more of replacement cost in an older unit, it is in your better interest to replace the unit.
Central Air Conditioning Repair, Tune Up, Maintenance & More in Santa Fe, Tomball, Sugar Land, Galveston & Greater Houston, Texas
When it comes to understanding the refrigerant usage, Absolute A/C & Plumbing can answer your questions and address your concerns accordingly. For your HVAC system needs, call us and let our certified experts assist you.