What You Need to Know About R22 Refrigerant

What is R22 Refrigerant?

R22, also known as Freon, is a substance used as a refrigerant in a variety of appliances that creates a cooling effect when it evaporates. Freon is used in HVAC systems, refrigerators, and even vehicles as a coolant. When air is circulated through your home or vehicle’s air conditioning system or your refrigerator, a coolant is what actually creates the cool sensation of the air.

Why is R22 being banned?

Because R22 is a chlorofluorocarbon, or CFC, it can have an impact on the atmosphere’s sensitive ozone layer which protects the earth, and people, from the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. Research suggests the excessive use of chlorofluorocarbons over the last few decades has contributed to a depletion of ozone, which can contribute to global warming. If the ozone layer were to cease to exist, it would be difficult for plants, animals, and people to survive the sun’s intense heat and radiation.

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How does Freon hurt the ozone layer?

If Freon is not properly handled by a licensed HVAC contractor, it can be released into the atmosphere, where it can eventually make its way to the ozone layer. To prevent this from happening, HVAC contractors are required to harvest Freon using federal guidelines and standards. If an HVAC contractor releases Freon into the air without disposing of it according to standard procedures and laws, both he and you could be held accountable. Both HVAC contractors and homeowners can face hefty fines as well as the loss of an HVAC license if proper procedures are not followed.

Is R22 refrigerant still available? When does R22 become illegal?

While Freon is still available for use following proper guidelines and procedures, efforts are being made to phase out the refrigerant in favor of more environmentally-friendly substances. The Environmental Protection Agency has designated January 1, 2020 as the first day in which R22, or Freon, will become illegal. After this date, Freon will no longer be available, and safer alternatives will be required.

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What is the replacement for R22 refrigerant?

R-410A, also known as Puron, is already available for use as a safer alternative to R22 refrigerant. For more than 20 years, Puron has been available for use in air conditioning systems and other household appliances, but until recently, Freon was the most widely used type of refrigerant. Unlike Freon, Puron does not release harmful chemicals that can deplete the earth’s ozone layer. Efforts are already being made by homeowners and the HVAC industry to move to Puron as a safer yet just as effective alternative.

What do I do when it’s time to replace my Freon or R22 refrigerant?

When it’s time to purchase a new air conditioning unit, keep in mind that after January 1, 2020, Freon will become illegal. If your air conditioner, refrigerator, other other appliance is in need of refrigerant before this date, it’s still a good idea to request Puron as an alternative. If your unit does not use Puron, you’ll need to invest in a new air conditioning unit.

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What do I do when it’s time to replace my air conditioning unit?

Freon and Puron are not interchangeable within an HVAC system, so choosing a unit that utilizes Puron before January 2020 is ideal, since purchasing a Freon system now means you’ll still have to invest in a Puron system later. While many HVAC models that use Freon are currently ceasing production or already have been phased out, some are still available, so choose wisely if you don’t want to incur additional costs soon. A licensed HVAC contractor can help you find a Puron system that works for you.

Do Puron HVAC units cost more than Freon HVAC units?

If you’re worried a Puron system will be more expensive to operate, or if you’re dreaded upgrading your HVAC system, here’s the good news. While HVAC units that use Puron have price points very similar to Freon units, those that run on Puron will cost less to operate in the long run, since they’re more energy efficient, and because it is cheaper to refill your unit with Puron than with Freon. Because Puron is more efficient, you’ll see the same results with less refills required, all while protecting the environment.

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Where do I buy a Puron air conditioning unit?

When it’s time to replace your air conditioning system, give Greenway a call. Our licensed HVAC operators can help you find the right HVAC system for you. We offer competitive pricing on a variety of models, including Trane and other quality systems. We also offer affordable pricing plans through Wells Fargo.