AC refrigerant plays the critical role of moving heat out of your house all summer long. Circulating between the two units of the central air conditioner, refrigerant absorbs heat at the indoor evaporator coil, then carries it to the outdoor condenser coil, where it is dispersed into outside air. In the stages of this process, AC refrigerant converts from a frigid vapor to a hot liquid and then back again.
For many years, the standard air conditioner refrigerant was designated R-22. However, this type of refrigerant was discovered to pose an environmental threat, as it degraded the earth’s ozone layer. In recent years, R-22 has been gradually phased out as new air conditioners utilized R-410A, an environmentally friendly replacement. As of Jan. 1, R-22 refrigerant has been permanently removed from the market and can no longer be manufactured or imported.
Here are some questions and answers about the status of AC refrigerant today:
Can I still run my old R-22 air conditioner?
Yes, as long as the unit is still functional.
Suppose my old AC needs service?
If the repair work requires adding refrigerant, it may be (a) extremely expensive due to the high cost of dwindling supplies of R-22, or (b) the unit may be unrepairable because R-22 is no longer available at any cost.
What are my options now?
- If your existing air conditioner is suddenly unrepairable due to the lack of R-22, you’ll be faced with replacing the entire unit at a time that may be inconvenient. During hot summer weather, for example, you will have to act fast to maintain indoor comfort.
- Alternatively, you may opt to take positive steps now — before that aging R-22 unit fails — and replace it with a new air conditioner that utilizes R-410A refrigerant. In addition to upgrading to the widely available, environmentally safe refrigerant, you’ll be getting a new system with advanced technology, superior efficiency, and more available options.
For more information about current issues relating to AC refrigerant, talk to the professionals at Aggressive Mechanical Contractors.