The Homeowner and Freon Laws
For the past 4 decades, the refrigerant R-22, also known as Freon, an HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) has been the refrigerant of choice for residential heat pump and air conditioning systems. The Clean Air Act implemented by EPA has established a schedule to phase out R-22, which contains ozone destroying Chlorine.
As of January 2010, equipment using R-22 refrigerant is no longer being manufactured. Air conditioning manufacturers now offer equipment that uses ozone friendly refrigerants. Homeowners need to be aware of how these changes will affect them: from future availability of R-22, to potential price increases for R-22. Homeowners should take these changes into consideration when repairs on existing equipment needs to be done as well as when they are thinking of purchasing new air conditioning systems.
The Clean Air Act does not “allow any refrigerant to be vented into the atmosphere during installation, service or repair of equipment.” This means that R-22 MUST be recovered and recycled, reclaimed or destroyed. After 2020, the servicing of R-22 based systems will rely only on recycled refrigerants.
As R-22 is gradually phased out, non-ozone depleting alternative refrigerants are being introduced to the HVAC industry. One of these substitutes is R-410A.
Homeowners that have older equipment and decide to replace their old system should strongly consider purchasing a high-energy efficient system. Energy-efficient systems will result in costs savings. Today’s energy efficient air conditioners use much less energy to produce the same amount of cooling. According to the EPA, this can save homeowners 10-40% on their heating and cooling bills every year.