What the End of R-22 Refrigerant Means for Older Birmingham Air Conditioners

UPDATE | July 2017 | Refrigerant Prices Are Rising

Prices for air conditioning refrigerants such as R-410A have been rising sharply this year, largely due to issues involving China, a major producer of refrigerants. One reason: Chinese suppliers were closed last winter until they improved workplace safety. And an equipment failure sidelined a major perchloroethylene (PCE) plant. In addition, the U.S. Trade Commission has imposed taxes or duties on some Chinese refrigerants after Chinese companies were found to have unfairly “dumped” refrigerants on other countries, lowering their prices far below market value to take business from other nations.

“All of these factors add up to indicate that global supplies of R-410A could be tight — and, therefore, prices will be high — during the 2017 cooling season,” achrnews.com reports.

For all the details, see http://www.achrnews.com/articles/135298-brace-for-high-refrigerant-prices-this-summer

In October 2014, the EPA announced its final phasedown schedule regarding the production and importation of HCFC-22. The order called for an immediate drop.

  • 51 million pounds allowed in 2014
  • 22 million pounds in 2015
  • 18 million pounds in 2016
  • 13 million pounds in 2017
  • 9 million pounds in 2018
  • 4 million pounds in 2019

No new or imported R-22 will be allowed in the U.S. on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

Birmingham, AL area homeowners with older air conditioners may soon be facing a difficult choice. You will need to replace your  cooling systems or continue to pursue increasingly costly and hard-to-find R22 refrigerant when your Air Conditioner needs a tune-up. Standards for types of refrigerants used in HVAC system maintenance are changing, and this means that this most common and least expensive refrigerant will soon be phased out. When the phase-out is complete in 2020, R-22 refrigerant will no longer be available.

R-22 is being replaced by R-410A, a safer material which is the current, compliant standard refrigerant in air conditioning equipment.

The refrigerant change means several things for Birmingham homeowners with older Air Conditioners:

  • If you have an existing system, you can use R-22 but it will only be available through after market sales recovered from older systems that are no longer in use.
  • The availability of R-22 cannot be purchased new and in the future there will be no guarantee that this refrigerate will be available.
  • The price of R-22 refrigerant will continue to rise and become very expensive in the next few years.
  • Replacing your AC system may be the best solution.

Please call Freedom Heating and Cooling at (205) 444-4444 for more information and schedule an HVAC analysis to see where you stand or fill out the form on this page and we will contact you.