R-22 is a refrigerant often used in air conditioners and heat pumps. Because R-22 depletes the ozone layer, production and import was significantly reduced in 2010. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reduced the production of R-22 refrigerant once again for 2013. This represents a 70% reduction from the approved R-22 production of 2010. By 2015, in just two short years, there will be almost a complete ban on the production of R-22.
What does this mean for you?
Well first, the price of R-22 refrigerant is skyrocketing as we speak. It has already doubled since this time last year and is expected to triple in the next few years. In turn, this could very well drive up the cost of maintaining and servicing your air conditioner or heat pump. Secondly, the supply of R-22 refrigerant is already limited, and as the phase out continues and prices rise, you can expect availability to fall. Eventually, contractors may not be able to guarantee to always have R-22 on hand.
What are your options?
If you have an existing R-22 heat pump or air conditioning system, you do not have to rush out and buy a new R-410A system right away. You can continue using it, but at the very least, you should make sure to properly maintain your unit. Regular servicing minimizes potential environmental damage along with the higher maintenance costs due to mechanical breakdowns or refrigerant leaks.
But for our customers who have R-22 systems over 10 years old, you may want to consider replacing now rather than later. Why?