2020 Update for Homeowners: Freon®/R-22 Phaseout

Hey, Texas homeowners! The Freon phaseout is here, and our team at DTC Air Conditioning and Heating wants to keep you in the loop. Questions have been pouring in from our customers in Georgetown and surrounding areas, and there is plenty of misinformation on the web. Allow us to definitively answer your questions about the R-22 phaseout. 

Why should I care about the R-22 phaseout?

Great question – after all, if your air conditioner is working, you may not give this issue a second thought. Here’s why you should pay attention: if your air conditioner uses R-22 refrigerant, future repairs will start to get more expensive.

Here’s why: as of January 1, 2020, the U.S. EPA has officially banned the import and production of R-22 refrigerant. R22, which is commonly known as Freon, can cause damage to the earth’s ozone layer when it leaks into the atmosphere. 

With no more Freon being produced, the only refrigerant available to repair equipment is the amount currently stockpiled by contractors. HVAC technicians can also use recycled R-22. Still, there is only so much R22 to go around. With the stockpile of Freon already depleting, the cost of repairs that require the chemical will rise.

You can read more about the EPA’s complete phaseout plan on its website

How can I check if my unit uses Freon?

The refrigerant in your system isn’t a mystery. Actually, the information is printed right on the unit. It will take less than two minutes to check. 

Simply head outside to the air conditioner that serves your home. The unit should have a label that includes information like brand, model number, and safety certifications. Somewhere on the chart should be an indicator of refrigerant type. 

Here’s a tip: if you find that the label is difficult to read, snap a photo with your smartphone! 

In Georgetown and surrounding areas, there are just two types of refrigerants that are typically used with residential A/Cs: 

  1. R22 – Also known as R-22 or Freon
  2. R410A – Also known as R-410A or Puron

If you see R22 printed on the side of your unit, keep reading. The phaseout will impact your future cooling service and repairs! 

What to do if my AC uses Freon

We’ll get straight to the point: if your air conditioner uses Freon, now is the time to start saving up towards a new A/C. 

But wait! Are there other options?

Yes – you can certainly put off replacing your unit. But let’s state the facts: 

FACT: The last R22 units were manufactured in 2010. 

FACT: The median life expectancy of a residential air conditioner unit is 15 years per ASHRAE

FACT: Whatever amount of R22 exists in the U.S. as of 1/1/2020 is what is left for service and repair.

So, if you have a system that uses R-22, we know that it is aging and will require more repairs as it gets older. And because of the laws of supply and demand, you can expect that any repairs your system needs requiring a refrigerant charge will become significantly more expensive.

Looking for the most inexpensive solution? 

We get it. Money is tight. The last thing anyone wants to spend their hard-earned funds on an air conditioner. 

You can opt to do nothing. You can choose to ride it out and what until your air conditioner bites the dust. In this case, we strongly recommend investing in annual maintenance. Our team will come out once a year to check on your system and identify any potential problems. This way, you’re not stuck on a hot and sticky Texas day with no A/C. Instead, you will have tackled the issue before it becomes the reason for a breakdown. 

You can start saving and researching new air conditioners. Since your air conditioner is still operating, it’s a great time to shop around for a new air conditioner. Most homeowners make the decision on a new A/C when their current unit is broken. That’s a lot of pressure! You have some breathing room to explore different system types and wait for specials like HVAC rebates to pop up. If you have concerns about affordability, keep in mind that financing is available.

Can’t I just modify my Freon system to work with R410A? Some contractors in the area have been advertising “drop-in” solutions.  For example, making modifications to change an R22 unit work with other refrigerant types. This type of work requires expert-level precision and change-outs of a lot of internal components. Not to mention- every air conditioner is certified for safety using the refrigerant type that it was originally manufactured to work with. Modifying a unit could lead to a whole host of problems, from an increased likelihood of needed repairs to safety concerns. So please – do NOT allow any contractor to modify your unit or use any other kind of refrigerant in your system.

DTC Air Conditioning and Heating is your Expert in Freon Replacement

Contact DTC Heating & Air Conditioning if you have any questions about the Freon phaseout. As experts in HVAC service, repair, and installation, we are very familiar with the coolant. We can visit your home in Georgetown, Cedar Park, Round Rock, or surrounding areas today. One of our helpful technicians will evaluate your system and provide a professional opinion on your best option.