The R-22 Ban And What It Means For Homeowners

The R-22 Ban And What It Means For Homeowners

Most people cannot imagine life without with air conditioner, but this could be a reality with the ban on R-22.  R-22 is a refrigerant that is used in most residential air conditioners and it is going through a phase-out.  This has a lot of implications for homeowners and you need to know about them so you can properly prepare.

The Ban On R-22

The ban on the refrigerant R-22 is not actually new and the phase-out has been happening for a number of years.  The reason why homeowners are starting to feel the heat from this is the fact that the repercussions of this are starting to hit home.  Before you can look at the impact of the ban on homeowners, you need to know more about the ban itself.

The ban and phasing out of R-22 started in 1987 with the Montreal Protocol which was signed by a number of countries.  The agreement set out the phasing out and banning of the coolant which had been found to cause environmental problems.  190 countries agreed to the ban and phase out with manufacturing being stopped in a phased manner.

This happened after it was found that R-22 contained halocarbons such as fluorine and chlorine which have the potential to deplete the ozone layer.  While the impact of R-22 is not as great as other ozone-depleting CFCs, the potential was too great to ignore.  The long-term detrimental effect of the use of R-22 was taken into account and preemptive steps were taken to avoid any possible future problems related to it.

It was in 2010 that the complete ban on R-22 came into effect.  This ban stopped the production of the coolant and any importing of it.  By 2015, the ban covered the sale and overall use of R-22.  The exceptions to this were any existing refrigeration and air conditioner equipment.  The problem for homeowners comes with the next phase of the ban which comes into effect in 2020.

This phase will be when the total ban on production, importing and use will come into effect.  This will stop the use of the refrigerant for existing units as well.  This is when the full impact will be felt by homeowners who have not felt it before.  After January 2020, R-22 use and availability will be relative to the stockpiles which have been maintained until this point.

The Alternative To R-22

While R-22 is being phased out and the production has been banned, there are alternatives available from  The primary alternative to R-22 is R-410A.  The problem with this is the fact that systems which run on R-22 are actually incompatible with R-410A.  This means that the air conditioner you have now which runs on R-22 will not work if you use R-410A.

This has resulted in a number of issues which homeowners are facing now and will continue to face in the future. It is important that you understand what these issues are and what possible steps you can take to overcome them.

An Increase In Costs

The primary issue that homeowners are going to face in the coming years is an increase in the costs of running their air conditioner.  When the final phase of the R-22 ban comes into effect, it will be almost impossible to get the refrigerant.  However, the costs will be felt before this time as the coolant is no longer being produced and the only supplies available are the stockpiles.

This means that the laws of supply and demand will come into effect and it will not be in favor of the homeowner.  The demand from homeowners will outweigh the supply of R-22 which will drive up the prices.  This will occur because there will be limited stock and suppliers will be able to charge what they want for the stock that they have.

It is not only the cost of the refrigerant that will increase in the future.  The overall cost of maintaining and servicing your air conditioner will also increase.  This is due to the fact that as your unit ages, it will need to be serviced more often and this will cost you a lot more.

Obsolete Air Conditioner

Another problem that you will face in the future is the fact that your AC unit will become obsolete.  When R-22 is no longer available or has a limited supply, you will no longer be able to use the unit.  This is something that many people cannot even think about and would want to avoid at all costs.

The only way to avoid this will be to replace your air conditioner.  While it is possible to retrofit the unit to accept a different type of refrigerant, this will not be the most economical option.  Retro-fitting will also not be possible with certain units and yours might be one of them.

Replacing your air conditioner is the best solution as it will ensure that the unit runs on a newer refrigerant and will be more energy efficient.  While this could have a larger upfront cost, the long-term benefits are greater.  There are many people who recommend replacing your air conditioner before the supply of R-22 reaches a critical level.

How Old Is Your Air Conditioner

To better understand the impact that the ban on R-22 will have on you specifically, you need to consider how old your unit is.  If you have an older unit, it will likely run on R-22 and you will face problems in the future.  However, if it is a newer air conditioner, there is a chance that it already runs on a different refrigerant.

Many of the new air conditioners on the market already run on R-410A.  If you have one of these units, you will not face any problems in the future when R-22 is completely phased out.  To determine this, you will need to look at the manual that came with the unit to see which refrigerant is recommended.  If it is anything other than R-22 you will be in the clear in the future.


Categories: Appliance

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