R-22 Frequently Asked Questions
With the R-22 phaseout nearly complete, ACDoctor knows many homeowners will have plenty of questions. Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions. If you cannot find your question, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will do our best to answer it for you.
Check your unit for a nameplate that identifies the type of refrigerant it requires (this plate will also have safety certifications and electrical ratings). The nameplate is usually on the outdoor condensing unit for central air conditioners
. If there is no nameplate, your owner’s manual should have the information, as would the company that sold you the unit. If you know the model number, you can also call the manufacturer or check their website.
You will still be able to buy self-contained units (ie: window units) as long as they were manufactured before January 1, 2010. New systems requiring R-22 may not be sold after December 31, 2009. R-22 production is limited and may only be used to service existing units. If you are in the market for a new system, there are many units available that are not only more eco-friendly, but also more energy efficient.
No. R-22 is being phased out to make way for newer, more eco-friendly refrigerants, but the process is designed to let you wait until the end of the lifecycle of your current unit before you replace it. There will be a limited supply of new R-22 manufactured until 2020, when any units still operating will have to be serviced with recycled or reclaimed R-22.
A limited quantity of R-22 will still be manufactured for servicing existing units. As of January 1, 2020, however, R-22 will no longer be manufactured. Keep in mind that the decreased amount of R-22 may cause the price to rise.
Most important is proper maintenance. Properly installed and maintained units rarely develop major leaks, and those that do are quickly discovered. For more information about what routine maintenance your unit needs, consult your owner’s manual or contact the company that sold you your unit.
R-410A is the most common alternative to R-22, but is not the only one. Here is a full list of alternative refrigerants.
The EPA does not require certification, so check to make sure your contractor is trained to work with a non-ozone depleting refrigerant. Because of the transition away from R-22, systems have had to be redesigned to accommodate the new refrigerants. Check out our Find a Contractor page to locate a contractor in your area that is trained to work with these new systems.
High efficiency air conditioners not only save you money on energy costs, they help protect the environment by using less energy to heat or cool your home. Energy Star rated HVAC units can save you anywhere from 10-40% annually on your energy bill and have a minimum SEER rating that is higher than the standard set by federal regulations. Higher SEER ratings equate to a higher efficiency.
No. A unit requiring R-22 can have the same SEER rating as one requiring R-410A.
When you purchase a new appliance, the retailer generally removes the old one. Landfills, scrap yard and metal recyclers may not accept them if they still contain refrigerant, but they are responsible for removing the refrigerant. You may have to pay for it to be recovered, but refrigerant must only be removed by a trained professional. It is very harmful to the ozone layer if released into the atmosphere. In other words, do not cut refrigerant lines or remove compressors so that it will be accepted by a disposal facility. You can contact your local Department of Public Works or landfill to see what appliance disposal options they offer.