What Kinds of Refrigerants Can Be Used in My Home Air Conditioner?

March 4, 2020

Since January 1, 2020, the manufacturing and importing of Freon (also known as R22 and HCFC-22) has been permanently banned. If your home air conditioner relies on R22, you don’t need to worry—you’ll be able to use pre-existing and reclaimed supplies during the R22 phaseout in Tampa, FL until your air conditioner’s lifespan is complete.

If you bought your unit after January 1, 2010, however, chances are that your unit relies on a different kind of coolant. After that date, the production of air conditioners that rely on R22 was banned. This was to give average homeowners and consumers the chance to replace their HVAC units on a longer timeframe, so the population wouldn’t have to immediately rush out and buy new systems.

Why is Freon banned?

Freon is an odorless gas that has been found to deplete the earth’s ozone layer. When there are holes in the ozone layer, more harmful UV radiation is allowed in. This leads to problems like melanoma and skin cancer, and can affect people of all ages. Naturally, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) would like to curtail that possibility, which is why it’s encouraging Americans to switch to environmentally-friendly options.

What kind of coolants are available now?

If your unit was purchased after January 1, 2010, it will rely on one of the EPA’s allowed refrigerants. The most common product is R-410A, which also goes by the names Puron, SUVA 410A, GENETRON AZ-20 and Forane 410A. While R-410A doesn’t contribute to holes in the ozone layer, it does still contribute to climate change, and so should be handled by a professional.

If your existing air conditioner uses R22, you can still buy that—if supplies exist—but you can expect it to be significantly more expensive. The EPA recommends that if your air conditioner uses R22 and springs a leak, you should get an HVAC technician to repair the leak as well as top off the refrigerant. Not only will it increase the lifespan of your unit overall, but you won’t be leaking expensive R22 and requiring frequent professional attention.

Do I have other options?

If your unit is more than 10 years old and relies on R22, you might be dreading the additional expense the next time it needs service. Although you’re allowed to use R22 as long as you’re able to get your hands on it, depending on the age of your system, you may wish to simply upgrade to a newer air conditioner.

Not sure what kind of refrigerant your home air conditioning unit uses? We can help. Kenny’s Air Conditioning & Heating Services, Inc. offers high-quality installation, repairs and maintenance for all HVAC systems, whether they rely on R22 or environmentally friendly coolants. Our family owned and operated business serves Tampa and the surrounding areas. If you have questions about the R22 phaseout in Tampa, FL or would like to schedule your next HVAC service appointment, give us a call today. We look forward to assisting you soon!

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