Freon R-22 Goes Sky-high
Environment Masters was recently notified by our supplier that not only was Freon R-22 going up $7 per pound next week, but we would be limited in the amount we could purchase. Rationing for R-22 has begun. How did this happen?
Phasing out Refrigerant
About 25 years ago, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered R-22 to be phased out because it contains ozone-depleting substances. Equipment using R-22 could no longer be manufactured after 2010, and R-22 would no longer be manufactured after 2020. This was done as a part of the “Montreal Protocol”, an international treaty meant to protect the ozone layer. At the time the plan was presented that there would be a gradual phase out of R-22 after 2010 of about 10% a year so there would be plenty of R-22 to service units made before 2010.
Flash forward to October 16, 2014: The EPA announced a revised, drastic phasedown schedule regarding production and importation of Freon R-22 (the type of refrigerant used in older AC units) which wiped out 57% of R-22 supply in 2015. And by 2016 production of R-22 dropped by another 18%. With new production completely banned by January 1, 2020. These drastic reductions have caused a much more restricted supply than originally believed by Air Conditioning contractors.
What does that mean for me?
Basically, since there’s less refrigerant to go around, and many people still need it for their air conditioners, you have to pay more for a basic charge if your air conditioner requires it.
Because the U.S. government has placed restrictions on how much refrigerant can be produced, this can cause the price of the refrigerant to skyrocket this summer when more people need refrigerant.
Bottom line: A low supply and high demand of refrigerant has driven up the price substantially.
So what should I do?
Really, you need to look at the big picture here. Refrigerant should never need to be replaced. That means your system had a leak, which possibly means you have an older system.
If you have an older system, you should have a reputable HVAC technician who is certified to advise you if you should repair or replace your air conditioner.
If you do decide to invest in a unit new air conditioner, there’s good news.
You can take advantage of federal Energy Star tax credits up to $450 if you buy a qualifying air conditioner. Combine that with the savings you’ll get from a new energy-efficient air conditioner, and upgrading will pay itself back in no time.
Call 601-353-4681 or go to www.environmentmasters.com for a free consultation from one of our experts to see if you need to replace your air conditioner.
To learn more about the refrigerant phase out, check out: http://www.achrnews.com/articles/127966-epa-finalizes-r-22-phaseout-plan