R-22 Refrigerant Becomes Illegal in 2020

Owners of R-22 cooling systems in the United States will soon have to make some changes. On January 1, 2020, the production and import of R-22 refrigerant will become illegal. This is going into effect to further protect the environment and the ozone layer. But, what does this mean for your HVAC system? And what will your options be? Here’s an overview of what you should know.

What Is R-22 Refrigerant?

R-22 refrigerantR-22 refrigerant, or Freon, is a colorless gas. It keeps the air flowing from your HVAC system cool. First used in the 1950s, R-22 was the standard for residential air conditioning units. In fact, some considered it to be a smart alternative to other coolant options. Now, that is no longer the case. The Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out R-22 refrigerant because its emissions damage the Earth’s ozone layer.

When Was R-22 Banned?

The ban on R-22 refrigerant has been a work in progress for decades. It started in 1987 with the Montreal Protocol. The project sought to eliminate any substances that deplete the ozone layer. It determined that R-22 harms the ozone, and led to an international effort to phase it out. Several steps in this plan are already complete. At this time, the schedule, broken down below, has two more steps:

  • January 1, 2010: Production, import and use of R-22 was banned – except for servicing existing equipment
  • Jan. 1, 2015: R-22 use for existing refrigeration equipment needs only
  • January 1, 2020: Remaining production and import of R-22 to end
  • Jan. 1, 2030: Production and import of all remaining hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) to end

What Does This Mean for My Business?

Overall, this means that in less than six months, R-22 refrigerant will only be available in recycled or stockpiled quantities. At this point, it will also become much more expensive. In fact, prices have already started to rise. Aside from air conditioning systems, this ban will also affect:

  • Dehumidifiers
  • Refrigerators
  • Freezers
  • Heat pumps
  • HVAC systems in vehicles
  • Cold-storage warehouses
  • Refrigerated transportation vehicles
  • Chillers
  • Ice makers

What Are My Options?

Now is the time to examine your options. Luckily, you have a few. One is to replace your R-22 system with a completely new unit. You can do this immediately or when your current system runs out of refrigerant.

On the other hand, you may convert your R-22 system to a legal refrigerant. This requires the assistance of the professionals at The Severn Group. R-22 components would be switched out with R410A parts. However, this service may cost you as much as new equipment.

We Can Help

The ban on R-22 refrigerant may have you worried. That’s why The Severn Group is here to help you navigate the process. We recommend that you start the transition as soon as possible. This will ensure you are in compliance with plenty of time before the new year. For more information on our services for the Maryland and Washington D.C. areas, contact us today.