The phrase R22 may not mean much to you – but you’ve probably used it at some point. You may still be using it right now, actually. It’s the refrigerant previously used by most AC systems, and it’s currently being phased out. It’s essential to understand what R22 is, why it’s being phased out and what to do if you have an HVAC system that still uses R22.
What is it?
R22, also known as R22 Freon, is a refrigerant used in most air conditioning units before the early 2000s to keep the air in your house cold.
Why is it being phased out?
Scientists discovered that chlorine is bad for the environment and can damage our health. Chlorine is an active component in the refrigerant, and when released into the air, it can react with harmful materials that can ruin our ozone. Since this discovery, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has called for a phase-out of toxic elements that can do damage to the ozone – called the “Montreal Protocol.” This protocol noted that R22 was the worst refrigerant for the environment.
What’s happening to it?
Starting in 2010, R22 was prohibited from production and installation. The only way R22 is still allowed in homes is if a certified technician installs it, and it can only be recycled R22.
Do I have an AC unit that uses R22?
If your AC system was installed into your home before the year 2010, there is a strong likelihood that it uses the R22 refrigerant. You can confirm this by checking the appliance’s nameplate. This nameplate can be found inside your user manual. If you want to know for sure, it’s best to contact a professional at Star Mechanical.
What should I do if I have a unit that uses R22?
If you have a unit that still uses this refrigerant, it is recommended to install a new unit that is more environmentally friendly or to have a professional convert your system to be compatible with a refrigerant that is better for the environment.