Why You Should Care About the EPA’s R-22 Freon Phase-Out

August 23, 2021
EPA’s Phase-Out of R-22 Freo

If Your Home’s AC System Still Uses Freon, It Needs to be Serviced and Possibly Upgraded

If it’s summer, it’s time for air conditioning for cool, indoor comfort.
But if your air conditioner still uses Freon as its coolant, you need to be aware of new government regulations to help protect our environment.

Freon is a trademark name that has been used to refer to several refrigerants, including chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) such as CFC-12, and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) such as HCFC-22, often referred to as “R-22.” Under the U.S. Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United States discontinued use of CFCs in the 1990s, and phased out HCFCs as of January 2020.

These chemicals eventually reach the stratosphere where they deplete the ozone layer, which helps protect us from harmful ultraviolet radiation. Phasing out ozone-depleting substances globally under the Montreal Protocol is expected to protect humans from millions of cases of skin cancer and cataracts, as well as protect plants, crops, and marine ecosystems.

What does this mean for people with air conditioners that use Freon?

The federal Environmental Protection Agency does not require homeowners to replace existing equipment, but older systems will need to be serviced with new, safer refrigerant formulations, including used Freon-type products that have been cleaned up to the same specifications as the new coolants.

Because of these changes, it’s more important than ever that homeowners maintain their AC units regularly. Annual servicing minimizes potential environmental damage due to leaking, and prolongs the life of the system.

“Major leaks rarely develop in properly installed and regularly maintained units,” said Robert “Robbie” McAteer, owner of American Services Company and a master plumber, master HVAC technician, and master gas fitter. “If your air conditioner leaks, ask your service technician to locate and repair the leak instead of ‘topping it off’ with additional coolant. Repairing leaks will keep your system operating at its best, while reducing refrigerant emissions and energy use.”

Further, homeowners with older cooling systems – typically, those 10 years old or older – may want to consider retrofitting their equipment or upgrading to new equipment to best comply with the new federal regulations and for the highest in energy-efficient operation.

A qualified HVAC company like American Service Company RVA is a good source of information, technical advice and expert guidance on the new EPA regulations, as well as any other heating and cooling issue. The knowledgeable HVAC technicians at ASCRVA will be glad to consult with any local
homeowner with questions or concerns about how the new EPA regulations will affect them and what action steps to consider. Call us at 804.739.4094 or Send Us a Message.

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