What the R-22 Phaseout Means for Air Conditioning Repair

HCFCR-22, also known as R-22 or Freon, has been in use for over 40 years as the preferred refrigerant in air conditioners. However, due to environmental concerns, the United States has become part of an international agreement called the Montreal Protocol, which is designed to phase out R-22 use in air conditioning and other refrigerant systems. According to the terms of this agreement, after January 1, 2010, the United States may no longer manufacture air conditioning equipment that uses R-22. Additionally, the manufacture of R-22 itself will cease by January 1, 2020. Air conditioners are closed systems that do not lose refrigerant through function; thus, air conditioners don’t require the addition of refrigerant as part of regular maintenance. However, additional refrigerant may be needed if your air conditioner’s coolant lines develop a leak, which causes the escape of coolant over time and reduces cooling performance. Keep reading to find out what these changes mean for your home if you need air conditioning repair in Boston to address a leak or low coolant level.

If Your Air Conditioner Uses R-22

If your home’s air conditioning system was installed before January 1, 2010, it likely uses R-22 as a refrigerant. When your system develops a leak, it will need more R-22 to restore its cooling performance. Although no new air conditioning systems are allowed to use R-22, the Montreal Protocol currently allows for the manufacture of R-22 solely for the purpose of repairing older air conditioning systems through January 1, 2020. This means that if your air conditioner requires refrigerant, your air conditioning repair service still has access to R-22 to replace any lost coolant. However, the price of R-22 may be higher than it was in the past, simply because it is a limited quantity. If your current air conditioner requires refrigerant after January 1, 2020, your air conditioning repair service will use recycled or reclaimed R-22 to replace lost refrigerant, rather than newly-manufactured R-22. If you aren’t sure whether your air conditioner uses R-22 or a newer, more eco-friendly refrigerant, talk to your air conditioning service to find out more about your model and its specifications. It is sometimes possible to retrofit an R-22 air conditioning unit to use an alternative approved coolant option; however, if your air conditioner is reaching the end of its expected lifetime of 10-15 years, it may be more economical to replace it with an entirely new unit that doesn’t use R-22 than to attempt a retrofit.

If Your Air Conditioner Doesn’t Use R-22

The Montreal Protocol requires that all new air conditioning systems manufactured in the U.S. may not use R-22, effective as of January 1, 2010. This means that if your air conditioner was installed after this date, it does not use R-22 refrigerant. If you need air conditioning repair that includes the addition of refrigerant to the system, your repair service will simply add the appropriate non-R-22 refrigerant. Thus, the restrictions on the manufacture and use of R-22 don’t affect your system and any repairs you may need.

Would you like to learn more about air conditioning repair how to spot coolant leaks quickly to prevent further problems? Please take a look through our blog for the latest air condoning tips and information, including the signs of a coolant leak and how to keep your air conditioning in great shape. If you need air conditioning repair in Boston, you can click over to our website to contact one of our service technicians.

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