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Does Your A/C Need a Refrigerant Retrofit? Get Info to Know for Sure

a/c refrigerantMany buildings and cars are cooled by a refrigerant called HCFC-22 (AKA R-22 or Freon®). R-22 is a type of compound called a hydrochlorofluorocarbon. This compound damages the ozone layer. Because of this, the world has been steadily phasing out HCFC production and units that require it. By 2015, the United States has committed by treaty to reduce R-22 use to 90 percent below baseline, and by 2020, consumption and production in the United States will be diminished by 99.5 percent. Does this mean you need a refrigerant retrofit on your A/C or heat pump? That depends on several factors, including the age of your unit, the condition of your unit, and the market price of refrigerant.

Since 2010, HVAC manufacturers have been prohibited from making R-22-using units, but there is no such prohibition on legacy units or parts for those units. However, there are still several scenarios where it might make sense for you to seek a refrigerant retrofit.

  • How old is your system? Older systems will need more frequent maintenance, cost more to repair, and cost more to recharge refrigerant, as you’ll see below.
  • What condition is your unit in?  As time goes on, parts might become scarce as newer units fill the market. In addition, it might be cheaper to retrofit your system to a different refrigerant than pay for scarce parts.
  • Currently, production and importation of R-22 is limited exclusively to existing units. To ensure the U.S. reaches its R-22 reduction goal, it will prohibit production and importation for all units by 2020. The only R-22 available will be recovered and reclaimed/recycled. This means Freon® prices are going up as 2020 gets closer.

Fortunately, there are already several R-22 replacements on the market, like R410, a refrigerant that does not harm the ozone layer. However, it does require a refrigerant retrofit. If you’re concerned about your A/C’s or heat pump’s refrigerant, please contact us. Air-Tro Inc. can help you make an informed decision about R-22 and R410.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in the greater Monrovia, California area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Credit/Copyright Attribution: “Maksim Kabakou/Shutterstock”