It’s common knowledge that air conditioners and refrigerant go hand in hand. But what do everyday consumers really know about the chemicals used in refrigerant or its impact on our environment?
Certain types of refrigerant are extremely harmful to the environment. Emissions of synthetic chemicals, such as HCFCs (hydrofluorocarbons) — the chemicals used in refrigerants — are destroying the ozone layer and contributing to climate change.
HCFC-22 (commonly known as R-22) andHCFC-142b (R142b) are therefore being phased out by the United States. By 2020, there will be a ban on remaining production and import of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b. By 2030, the ban will be in full effect on remaining production and import of all HCFCs.
Learn more about the phaseout and what it will mean for the HVAC industry and consumers moving forward.
HCFC Phaseout to Protect the Ozone Layer
The United States is phasing out R-22, R142b, and other chemicals in an effort to protect the ozone layer. The ozone layer is the Earth’s protective layer against the sun’s harmful ultraviolet radiation. It is rapidly being destroyed by the emission of certain chemicals. There is now an “ozone hole” over the South Pole due to ozone-depleting substances.
In 2010, the United States put a ban on production, import, and use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b, except for continuing service needs of existing equipment. As the phaseout continues, the United States will now completely ban HCFCs in an international effort to reduce damage to the ozone layer.
Due to the phaseout of R-22 and other refrigerants, you will want to be informed about how to service and repair your current air conditioning unit, as it most likely depends on harmful refrigerants, unless it is a new system. While R-22 and R142b are still available for servicing equipment, costs will go up as supplies go down.
You also want to be informed when it comes to the purchase of a new air conditioning unit in the future — one that is energy efficient and reliant on alternative refrigerants that do not harm the ozone layer.
Read on for a complete timeline of the R-22 and R142b phaseout.
Information source: U.S. EPA
Timeline for Phaseout of R-22 and R142b
HCFC-22 (R-22) and HCFC-142b (R142b) are the next two HCFCs that the United States will phase out.
The schedule to phase out HCFCs is:
January 1, 2010 — Ban on production, import, and use of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b, except for continuing servicing needs of existing equipment
January 1, 2015 — Ban on production, import, and use of all HCFCs, except for continuing servicing needs of refrigeration equipment
January 1, 2020 — Ban on remaining production and import of HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b. After 2020, the servicing of systems with R-22 will rely on recycled or stockpiled quantities
January 1, 2030 — Ban on remaining production and import of all HCFCs
Source: U.S. EPA
Looking for Purchase a New Air Conditioner?
The EPA has prohibited the manufacturing of any new air conditioning systems containing R-22.
You can check if your air conditioner uses HCFC-22 by checking the nameplate on the unit. It should identify the type of refrigerant it uses, along with other information, such as electrical ratings and safety certifications.
As HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b supplies decrease, recharging costs will increase. Newer model air conditioners are much more energy efficient and environmentally friendly. They will rely on alternative refrigerants (such as R-134a, R-407C, R-410A, and R-407A) that do not cause harm to the ozone layer and do the job just as well. There will be no sacrifice when it comes to comfort or performance. In fact, newer systems are much cheaper to operate and last a lot longer. Energy efficiency equals lower energy costs.
Contact OnTime Service with any questions you might have about the phaseout, how you can responsibly service your current system or what you need to look for when purchasing a new system. We’re here for all your air conditioning needs for decades to come!