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The Ban On Freon: What It Means For Your HVAC System

The Ban On Freon: What It Means For Your HVAC System

R-22, commonly branded as Freon, is a coolant used in air conditioners, heat pumps, and refrigerators. In 1987, the United States agreed to an international initiative calling for the reduction of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), the main component of R-22. After this year, the final reduction of R-22 use will take place, and it will no longer be manufactured or imported into the U.S.

Why Freon Must Be Banned

The best way to understand why R-22 is being banned is to see why it was made in the first place. In the late 1920s, a combination of chlorine, fluorine, and carbon (CFC) was produced as a refrigerant. CFC was then deemed unsafe for the environment and for use in the home. This prompted the production of R-22, and it was initially considered to be safer because it was non-toxic, inflammable, and odorless.

Later on, it was determined that R-22 was just as dangerous. It is a powerful greenhouse gas that has the ability to damage the ozone layer, which prompted the efforts to limit its usage.

The Current Cost Of R-22

In 2010, R-22 was banned in all new HVAC systems, but it remained in production for homeowners with older air conditioners. The use of Freon was reduced further in 2015, allowing less production and importation into the United States, causing the prices of R-22 to quadruple. When the final phase-out of R-22 is reached on January 1, 2020, there will be no telling what the price of Freon will be for homeowners who still require it.

Options For Freon-System Owners

There are 3 main options for those that still own a system using R-22:

Do Nothing: Many people simply do not have the money to go out and buy a brand new HVAC system for their home. Simply wait until your system needs a major repair. However, if your unit is in need of repair soon, it’ll cost you a pretty penny.

Convert to a new refrigerant: Since the reduction of R-22, the EPA has approved a number of new coolants. The most popular brand of these new coolants is R-410A, branded as “Puron”. Keep in mind though, you can’t simply pour a new coolant into a system that uses R-22. Parts will need to be replaced in order to suit the new coolant, and even then, your system will not work as well, causing your energy bill to rise.

Replace your HVAC system: This is the best option, but it is also the most expensive option. There are several new EPA friendly systems, capable of running the more eco-friendly coolants. This option can be expensive in the short term, but it will serve you well in the long run. With a new system you can avoid breakdown issues, as well as regular part replacements.

With the ban on R-22 Freon closing in, there are many things to look into when considering the fate of your HVAC system. No matter your decision, we at Fairway Heating and Cooling are here to help and answer any questions you may have. If you’re not sure what the best option is for you, contact us through our website or call us at (813) 519-6620 to get our expert opinion.


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