Refrigerant 22 (Freon 22) Phase out

At Air Comfort, we receive many questions about the price of R22 refrigerant that is used in A/C systems in homes and businesses.

The reality is that R22 is being phased out of production and will no longer be produced as of January, 2020. While there is a fair amount of reclaimed R22 being sold on the market, the combination of new and reclaimed R22 is still less than the projected needs of the US in 2017!

Increasing demand and decreasing supplies will continue to increase the cost of R22 over the next few years.

What does this mean for the  consumer?

One pound of R22 currently costs about $58. Most home systems hold around ten pounds of refrigerant, so if your system was very low you could easily spend 300.00 to $700.00 dollars charging up the system.

Where is the R22 in my system going?

In most systems, we find that the indoor coil, is where most systems leak. The combination of dust and dirt in the air stream gets past the filter allowing water to accumulate on the coil when the system is operating.  This moisture combined with the dissimilar metals of the coil causes corrosion. This corrosion of the copper in results in leaks. Rarely can these leaks be repaired, and the coil must be replaced.

When should I repair or replace my HVAC system?

Several factors should be considered when facing this decision.

What is the age of the system?

If the system is more than ten years old and it needs more than half of the R22 recharged, it may be a better investment to replace the coil, or perhaps the entire system because;

If you replace the indoor coil, you will likely spend around $1,500.00 which is nearly half the cost of a new A/C system.

However if the outdoor unit fails in the next few years you will be throwing away that new coil and R22.  All the new systems are R410 and the replacement coil in not compatible with the R22.

What is the age of my furnace?

There are significant rebates and incentives available to offset the cost of a new system and the new equipment can significantly lower your utility costs throughout the year. Since most A/C and furnace systems must be matched to receive rebates it is often a better long-term investment to replace the furnace and A/C at the same time.

Can I just fill up the system and take my chances?

The EPA has clear regulations about recharging A/C systems that are known to have significant leaks and there are clear actions that must be followed. There are now much better leak stop products that have been effective at slowing and stopping leaks, but if the leak is in the coil, it very likely will return and need more refrigerant the next year.

Are there any other ways to fix my leaking A/C system?

There are many replacement refrigerants available to replace the R22 but the leaks should still be found and repaired before the new refrigerant is installed.  The efficiency of R22 replacements is lower and there is always the risk of the wrong refrigerant being added in the future.

I have counseled customers on the repair or replace question and while each situation is different, we can help you think through all the different options so you can decide what is best in your particular situation.

Kelly Shoudy
Air Comfort Inc