The 2020 HCFC Ban Deadline and the Future of your R22 Dependent System

As the substance that allows your AC to cool the air in your home, R22 has been the industry-standard refrigerant since 1935. However, this coolant releases chlorine into the ozone layer, actively contributing to ozone depletion. Due to environmental concerns, a worldwide phase-out has been in process. 

And now that the January 1, 2020 deadline has officially passed on the manufacture and import of R22 refrigerant, our North Carolina homeowners have been left questioning, “How and when will this ban impact my home comfort?” 

Costly Maintenance

Though the utilization of R22 in existing residential and commercial systems is still legal, inventories are quickly diminishing and will continue to do so as the phase-out continues. Moreover, the cost of the coolant itself is skyrocketing due to scarcity, making maintenance and repairs such as refrigerant recharges due to condenser coil leaks,  far more expensive than in the past. 

AC Unit Replacement

Naturally, banning R22 will render all systems that require the coolant outdated. However, since many homeowners are still unaware of the ban, most may not be prepared to replace their AC unit. Of course you can continue to use already-produced, reclaimed or recycled refrigerant to buy you some time, but as we mentioned above, it will become increasingly expensive to maintain.

The most efficient option however, is to consult your trusted HVAC company on replacing your R22 air conditioner with one that uses R-410A—the new industry-standard coolant that doesn’t damage our ozone layer.

A Temporary Fix

Because purchasing a brand new unit is pricey, there are alternative coolants for a temporary solution. These ozone-friendly drop-in coolants will work in an R-22 air conditioner while you budget for a replacement unit:

  • R-404A
  • R-438A
  • R-407A

Your system however, isn’t designed to work with drop-in coolants, so they will likely void your warranty. Plus, they cause your equipment to run less efficiently and wear out faster. That’s why they are only a temporary solution. 

A Smooth Transition with Comfort First

Though the conversion to an R-410A air conditioner is inevitable, it doesn’t have to be painful.

To summarize, the solutions include: 

  • Paying more for R-22 until it runs out, then purchasing a new unit.
  • Temporarily using other refrigerants until you can replace your system.
  • Replacing your system now to save on repair and energy bills.

No matter what path you choose, the friendly staff at Comfort First will be there every step of the way to answer your questions regarding the R-22 ban. Simply give us a call at any of our 5 North Carolina locations. We are happy to help in any way we can!