Freon, or R-22, the most common refrigerant in residential air conditioners over the past several decades, will be illegal to import or manufacture starting January 1, 2020. How does this affect you and your home heating and cooling system? Here’s everything you need to know about the new regulations and what you should do if you’re still using an R-22 HVAC system.
In 2010, the EPA banned the production of any new systems that used R-22 due to its harmful effects on the ozone layer. In addition, they mandated a complete ban on manufacturing or importing the chemical itself starting January 1, 2020.
Freon is the common name for HCFC-22 and R-22 – the chemicals that are the most popular refrigerants that have been used in AC units over the past decades. In a properly working unit, your Freon level shouldn’t change. However, if a repair is needed and the Freon leaks, replacing this Freon will be difficult and increasingly expensive.
The EPA has a list of acceptable coolants for multiple products. All Trane units manufactured since 2010 use R-410A.
Honestly, it depends. First thing you need to know is whether your current system uses R-22 or not. If it does, you can continue to service your system but at some point in the future, any replacement Freon will be increasingly hard to get and more expensive – so an upgrade to a newer model may make more sense rather than costly repairs.
If you’ve purchased a new HVAC system since 2010 you should be fine. However, if you have an older system, you can check your unit to find out what type of coolant is uses. Look for the sticker on the side, if it says “HCFC-22 or R-22” your system uses the older coolant that the EPA is phasing out.
No. If your system is running smoothly, you don’t need to change a thing. Your Freon levels should not change in a properly running system. However, if you have a leak or other issue, replacement R-22 will be hard to find and expensive. You may find that a newer air conditioner makes more sense now and over time.
For some systems, it’s possible to retrofit your current unit to operate with one of the approved coolants. However, depending on your unit and the type of coolant it uses, this process can either be very simple or incredibly difficult and expensive. Talk to a Trane Comfort Specialist to see what’s possible for your system.
If you have an R-22 system and are still concerned, reach out to your local Trane Comfort Specialist. They’ll evaluate your current system, check for any leaks and walk you through some of the cost benefits of replacing your older system with a more energy efficient system.