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What is R-22 Refrigerant and Why is it Being Phased Out?

April 6, 2020 | Blog

You might not know what “R-22 Refrigerant” is, and that’s okay. Until recently, R-22 is what was known as the standard in household air conditioners. R-22 is a compound, which for a long time, was the most commonly used refrigerant in AC units.

Why is R-22 bad?

A good amount of time has passed since R-22 was being put in AC units. Scientists have recently found that chlorine, a component in the refrigerant, is terrible for our health and not environmentally friendly. Releasing chlorine into the air will allow it to interact and bind with materials that can react with the ozone. The Environmental Protection Agency initiated a “phase-out” of several agents that can affect the ozone in an agreement known as the Montreal Protocol. In this agreement, it’s found that many refrigerants are affecting the ozone layer – but R22 was the worst.

What’s happening to R-22 units?

The phase-out began in 2003. After roughly seven years, the production of R-22 was prohibited. There are only certain instances where R-22 is allowed to be used by a certified technician, and it has to be recycled.

How do I know if I have an R-22 unit?

If your air conditioning system was installed before 2010, your unit most likely uses R-22. To know for sure, look at the unit’s nameplate. You can typically find this information on the outdoor condenser or your user manual. If you’re still unsure, contact a Lee’s Air professional.

What needs to happen to my unit if it uses R-22?

If your unit uses this particular refrigerant, you have a couple of options:

  1. It’s recommended you invest in a new air conditioning system that is more environmentally friendly.
  2. You can also call a professional to make your system compatible with a new refrigerant.
  3. Finally, you can stick with using recycled R-22 for a steep cost.

For any additional questions you might have or to replace your air conditioning unit, give Lee’s Air a call.

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