HVAC equipment updates and changes aren’t exactly breaking news, so you’re probably thinking, “What the heck is R-22, why does it matter, and what are they talking about?”
R-22 is a colorless gas that’s used as a refrigerant in your HVAC system. Because of its negative environmental effects, specifically relating to the ozone layer and global warming, the government has mandated a phase-out of R-22.
Does Your HVAC Unit Use R-22?
If your HVAC system was produced prior to 2010, it probably uses R-22. Don’t panic—this doesn’t mean that your system can’t be serviced and/or that you must replace your system; however, it does propose some things you may want to file away in the back of your mind:
- Beginning in 2020, R-22 will no longer be produced; therefore, if your unit still uses R-22, in order to service it, it will be relying on recycled or reclaimed R-22. Chances are, your heating and air conditioning units will have enough R-22—unless a leak occurs. Leaks are one of the most common component malfunctions that we run into at Hans Heating and Air; we say this not to scare you, but simply to keep you informed of the facts. As you can imagine, as supply of R-22 gradually dwindles, the cost of R-22 will rise significantly.
- Does this mean that you need to replace your entire HVAC system? No, not necessarily—that’s definitely something to take into consideration, and it’s totally up to you and your personal preferences—but it’s not a requirement. One thing that we repeat over and over again is, “Emergency repairs are far more expensive than routine maintenance.” In order to prevent R-22 leaks and maintain the quality of your system, the best thing you can do is participate in routine tune-ups—once in the spring, once in the fall.
- Potential Reasons to Consider Replacing Your Unit. As we previously stated, purchasing a new unit is by no means a requirement, but it is undoubtedly something to consider. Of course, it will depend on several factors, but let’s address the two that are pertinent to this conversation about R-22:
Firstly, the closer we get to 2020, your current system will inevitably be aging; it’s a machine—and—regardless of the quality of the system—machines eventually break down over time. A common “breakdown” you may experience is an R-22 leak. The closer we get to the year 2020, the more expensive R-22 will be—aka a rather commonplace repair will turn into an extensively expensive repair. Once we reach the year 2020, you will no longer be able to get new R-22—it will have to come from a recycled source. Therefore, not only will the sheer availability of R-22 be in question, but also the cost of R-22 will be rather pricy.
Secondly, if you’re someone that’s particularly sensitive to environmental concerns, replacing your old system that relies on environmentally hazardous refrigerant with a new, high-efficiency unit might be something you’d like to consider. Not only are high-efficiency units more environmentally friendly with the use of a green alternative to R-22, here are some additional perks to you, the environment, and your wallet: high-efficiency units use far less energy, they provide additional savings on maintenance and electrical costs, and they also come with rebates and tax credits.