If you read the title of this post and thought, “A what air conditioner?”, don’t feel like you’re missing vital information that you’re supposed to know. Most homeowners aren’t aware of the specifics of the manufacture of their air conditioning systems, such as what type of refrigerant they use.
However, if you don’t know about R-22 air conditioning systems, we’re glad to provide you with this info. It’s likely that you don’t have an R-22 unit, but if you do, you’ll want to have it replaced as soon as possible.
So, on to the details of what we’re actually talking about…
R-22 is a type of refrigerant that has been phased-out from use
Air conditioning systems use refrigerant to provide cooling for homes. The refrigerant is a blend of various chemicals that can easily change between liquid and gaseous states. This allows the refrigerant to quickly absorb heat from inside the house through evaporation and then release it outside the house through condensation.
For decades, the standard refrigerant blend in residential air conditioners was a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) blend called R-22. The brand name is Freon, which is sometimes confusing to people because “freon” is often used to refer to any refrigerant blend.
In the 1990s, R-22 was discovered to be contributing to ozone-layer depletion, and in 2004 the US government started a phase-out program to eliminate the use of R-22. The phase-out was completed in January 2020. R-22 air conditioning systems are no longer manufactured, R-22 is not produced, and technicians cannot use existing supplies of R-22 to repair refrigerant leaks in air conditioners.
How to tell if you have an R-22 air conditioner
If your AC is 10 years old or less, it doesn’t use R-22, since the manufacture of R-22 air conditioners ended in 2010. But even if your air conditioner is between 10 to 15 years old, it probably isn’t an R-22 unit and instead uses the replacement refrigerant, R-410 (a.k.a. Puron). However, you can easily check to make sure. Look on the nameplate for the AC located on the outdoor condenser cabinet. It will list the refrigerant type. R-22 can also be written as “HCFC-22” or just “22.
Do I have to replace an R-22 unit?
It is to your benefit to have it replaced, yes. Because R-410A is a different pressure than R-22, it can’t be put in an R-22 unit, so the old unit must be replaced to use the current refrigerant. If your old R-22 air conditioning system starts to leak refrigerant, it cannot be repaired because of the restrictions of the phase-out. And if you have an R-22 air conditioning system, it’s probably almost 20 years old at this point, which is five years past when most air conditioners need to be replaced. You’re already due for a new AC—and R-410A air conditioners run better at higher efficiency. They’re safer as well since R-410A is non-flammable.
If you have any questions about your current AC, R-22, the phase-out, or an air conditioning replacement in Lake City, FL, our team is glad to help. We want you to have an environmentally friendly and effective air conditioner you can trust!