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What Should You Do If Your HVAC Uses R-22?

Posted on Oct 14, 2017
What Should You Do If Your HVAC Uses R-22?

In 2010, it became illegal to manufacture or import new cooling equipment within the United States that contained the refrigerant known as R-22. This was due to the damage its greenhouse gas emissions were causing to the environment. Because so many HVAC units made before 2010 relied on R-22, the government allowed a 10-year phase-out period for people using older systems to prepare. With this guide from Air Works Heating & Air, learn if your HVAC is at risk and what you can do to get ready.

What’s Wrong with R-22?

Because R-22 works in a way that harms the ozone layer, it’s become important to find less harmful alternatives that don’t cause as much damage to the planet. While R-22 is still commercially available, it will no longer be legal to manufacture or import it after January 1, 2020. After that, all HVAC equipment will need to work with refrigerants like R410A or an alternative. The government has set deadline of 2020 to give the maximum amount of time possible to replace bad equipment.

How to Find Out If Your HVAC Uses R-22

The easiest way to find out if your HVAC uses R-22 to cool is by taking account of its date of manufacture. If it was made before 2010, the chances are high that it uses R-22 to cool with. That was the last year it was legal to include the refrigerant in HVAC installations. Likewise, systems made after 2010 mostly use R410A, which means your unit is good to go. If you can’t be sure what refrigerant your unit uses, get a qualified technician to check to avoid any surprises.

How Does It Affect Me?

Why should you care about whether or not R-22 gets phased out? The simple answer is that it will make fixing your HVAC much more expensive as time goes on. Because production is winding down, prices are going up. That means repairs will cost more and more in the future, possibly skyrocketing in price after 2020. Plus, increased scarcity means that as time goes on, it will also be harder to procure replacements, meaning more time without AC during the warmer months waiting on a repair.

What to Do If Your System Uses R-22

If you find out that your HVAC unit uses R-22 to cool with, all hope is not lost. There are a couple of ways to tackle this problem:

Replacing Your HVAC

The simplest way to solve the problem of owning an HVAC that uses R-22 is to replace the unit with a more modern model that uses an alternative to R-22. This option has the advantage of outfitting your space with a new unit that is more optimized for performance and can save you money. The negative of replacing comes in the form of having to shell out serious cash for a new unit. Although, with the added savings from decreased energy costs and less expensive repairs your new unit will slowly, but surely, pay for itself over time.


There are a variety of different temporary fixes out there to provide some wiggle room if it’s not possible to upgrade your unit. Not all units are capable of it, but some homeowners have had success in retrofitting their HVAC systems to use alternative refrigerants like MO99. This is a complicated, risky modification and should only ever be performed by trained professionals. But when executed properly, it can allow you to continue using your old HVAC a little longer.

Get Your Next HVAC Replacement with Air Works

If you’re thinking about upgrading your HVAC unit to one that meets all the current regulations and that will last into the future, consider getting an upgrade from Air Works Heating & Air. We’ve been servicing the Raleigh area for years, offering fast, reliable work at a great value. To learn more about our services, contact us or call us at (919) 528-4333.

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