HVAC Changing in January 2020: Understanding EPA’s New Rules for Air Conditioning Refrigerant

Air conditioning refrigerant may not be a concern but in a few months, you’ll be taking notice. Due to EPA changes, air conditioning refrigerant costs are going to skyrocket. Here’s what you need to know!

air conditioning refrigerant - new standard set by EPA
air conditioning refrigerant – new standard set by EPA

Types of Air Conditioning Refrigerants

Besides a few other less popular types, there are two kinds of air conditioning refrigerant currently used in HVAC systems across the nation today: R-22 (Freon) and R410A (Puron). Even though both of these air conditioning refrigerants serve the same purpose, there are major differences that HVAC pros are aware of, but homeowners need to know, too. Starting in 2020, Freon will no longer be used in American HVAC production and repair. Here’s why it’s being phased out.

R-22 (HCFC) The air conditioning refrigerant, R-22 or HCFC-22 is more commonly known by most people as Freon. It’s been around since the 1930s and has been used extensively in the industries of refrigeration and also later, home air conditioning which we are now all accustomed to. The chemical compound of R-22 is “Chlorodifluoromethane”. Try saying that three times fast! Though R-22 air conditioning refrigerant has been used extensively for many years, after much study, it has come to the attention of scientists that the use of this chemical has a significant negative impact on our air quality and the Earth’s ozone layer. It is still available to purchase for the systems that are running on R-22, but the price is going up and up as it is being phased completely out.

air conditioning refrigerant changes for environment
air conditioning refrigerant changes for environment

R-410A (HFC) Now the standard in air conditioning refrigerants, R-410A, also known as Puron, is “hydro-fluorocarbon”. This compound is made of multiple chemicals which absorbs and releases the heat running through air conditioning compressors better than the old kind and it does not have harmful effects on the ozone. It’s also built to handle higher pressures and stresses on the systems so it’s less likely to cause cracks and leaks.

One additional benefit to R-410A air conditioning refrigerants is its use of synthetic oil versus the mineral oil used in R-22 products. The synthetic oil adds to efficiency levels and also is easier on the system as a whole, extending it’s life. All in all, while it may be a hassle for people to have to switch units over to the new air conditioning refrigerant, this new standard is better for the environment and will be a big deal in the long run.

air conditioning refrigerant types
air conditioning refrigerant types

Check your Air Conditioning Refrigerant

How can you know which type of air conditioning refrigerant your system is using? There are 8 types of air conditioning systems, and most of the older ones use Freon. If your HVAC unit was made before 1996, it will be using R-22 air conditioning refrigerant. If your unit is from 1996 through 2009 it could be either R-22 or 410A and then any systems after 2010 will almost certainly be using 410A. This goes for residential air conditioning systems, commercial HVAC units, and car air conditioners, too!

The easiest way is to check the information printed right on the unit in the information plate from the manufacturer. Some units will have a sticker on the condenser that will tell you, but if not, the age of your unit will give you a big clue.

car air conditioner

Get Tune-Up or Replace your Air Conditioner before the Big Change

Once you know what kind of refrigerant it uses, it would be wise to check when your unit is due for new fluids. If you’re looking to save money, it would make sense to look into a new unit or replace your air conditioning refrigerant before the industry standard changes. Not only will HVAC companies switch over to exclusively using Puron instead of Freon, but the country will no longer be importing the old kind of air conditioning refrigerant at all.

Get Air Conditioning Refrigerant Tuned Up It’s always good to check with your local HVAC company to have them perform a maintenance test on your air conditioning refrigerant system. If you have a unit that runs on R-22, checking for leaks and other small issues could help carry on the life of the units until you do need to replace them. If you only need a pound or two of air conditioning refrigerant, it may make sense to keep the R-22 unit a little longer. Other than that scenario, it’s time to make the switch!

Replacing Your Old HVAC Unit If your current unit runs on R-22 air conditioning refrigerant it’s time to seriously consider replacing your air conditioner. Not only will it be better for the environment we live in, but it may end up saving you money when you have to recharge. The R-22 air conditioning refrigerant will continue to rise in price and become harder and harder to come by.

air conditioning refrigerant tune up

Get Help With Air Conditioning Refrigerant in Missoula MT

The best way to get a quote for a new air conditioner is to call the professionals. Garden City Plumbing has the Comfort Consultants for the job! Ever home and space is different, so make a call to get the personalized analysis you need. You will be glad you took the time to make sure your air conditioning refrigerant is working optimally, and you’ll be ahead of the game when you’re ready for the new year! Call or email us today.