What the R-22 (Freon) Ban in 2020 Means for AC Owners

Starting in 2020, a ban is taking place in the U.S. that is going to affect a lot of people who own older air conditioning systems: the phaseout of R-22 refrigerant. R-22 (also known as HCFC-22 and Freon) has been used in residential air conditioners and heat pumps for decades. In fact, if you own an air conditioner that was manufactured before January 1, 2010, there’s a decent chance that your system uses R-22.

To prep our customers for the ban, our HVAC experts want to make sure you’re equipped with the following information:

  • What Are the Restrictions of the R-22 Ban?

  • Why Is the R-22 Ban Taking Place?

  • How to Tell If Your Air Conditioner Uses R-22

  • What to Expect If Your Air Conditioner Uses R-22

What Are the Restrictions of the R-22 Ban?

Although R-22 is still in production so that it can service existing air conditioners, restrictions regarding this refrigerant have been in place for quite some time. In 2010, the U.S. made it illegal to manufacture new AC systems that use R-22.

Starting in 2020, these are the new restrictions that will be going into effect:

  • It will be illegal for domestic chemical manufacturers to produce new R-22.

  • It will be illegal to import new R-22 into the U.S.

Why Is the R-22 Ban Taking Place?

R-22 (AKA. HCFC-22), is a known ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). HCFCs reduce our planet’s ozone layer, which contributes to negative climate change.

In keeping with the Montreal Protocol, an agreement that the US. has made with other members of the international community, the U.S. has been gradually reducing the production and import of HCFCs (like R-22). The plan is to have HCFCs completely phased out by 2030.

How to Tell If Your Air Conditioner Uses R-22

Not sure if your air conditioner uses R-22? The best way to find out is to check the owner’s manual. However, if you don’t have the manual, you can check your AC’s outdoor unit instead. Typically the unit will have a nameplate, and you can examine the nameplate to see what kind of refrigerant your air conditioner uses.

If you can’t find the refrigerant type on the nameplate, try to locate the model number so that you can look up the model on the manufacturer’s website or call the manufacturer’s customer service line. If an HVAC company has recently serviced your air conditioner, they might also be able to tell you what kind of refrigerant it requires.

What to Expect If Your Air Conditioner Uses R-22

If your air conditioner uses R-22, you might not be affected by the phaseout for quite some time. You will not be required by law to replace your air conditioner, and you will still be allowed to use your air conditioner as usual. Your system can continue to be serviced with reclaimed, recycled, or previously produced R-22.

It’s important to remember, though, that because the supply of R-22 is becoming increasingly limited, that means it’s going to be harder to obtain and much more expensive to use. It is possible for parts of your system to be replaced so that it can use Puron (R-410A), which is a refrigerant that is approved by the EPA. However, these modifications can be pricey, and if your AC system is getting up in years, it may be better to invest in a new system that will be more energy-efficient.

How Dial One Sonshine Can Help

Since 1981, our HVAC experts have been providing AC maintenance, replacement, and installation services for homeowners. At each appointment, we’ll provide you with options and recommendations with your best interests at heart. If you need assistance with your air conditioning system, don’t hesitate to contact us online or give us a call: (714) 252-7460