During your air conditioner’s annual maintenance, you may find the system needs a charge of refrigerant to boost its cooling capacity. If so, you’ll also notice that prices of the A/C refrigerant R22 have increased dramatically (tripled since 2011). These increases are being felt all throughout the HVAC industry and are expected to continue for at least the next eight years.

R22 refrigerant prices are rising in response to recent government regulations in the Clean Air Act. These regulations require the gradual phasing out of R22 as an air conditioning system refrigerant. By the year 2020, R22 will no longer be made for use in servicing existing air conditioning units. After 2020, only reclaimed or recycled R22 refrigerant will be available to service existing systems.

In new air conditioners, R22 refrigerant has been replaced by more environmentally-friendly refrigerants, such as R410A. This is because R22 refrigerant has been determined to be a danger to the environment due to its ozone-depleting effects. An added complication for owners of units built before 2010 is that the newer refrigerants will not work in systems that where designed for R22.

About 80 percent of the existing air conditioning systems in the United States were built before 2010 and use R22 refrigerant, which means that most air conditioner owners in the country will be affected by the new regulations. Either homeowners will need to endure the steeply rising costs of and difficulty finding R22 refrigerant or they will have to completely replace their air conditioning system with one that can use the approved refrigerants. The situation may be somewhat relieved by using it as a reason to invest in a money-saving, high-efficiency cooling system.

For 40 years, Acosta Heating & Cooling has been a reliable source of heating and air conditioning services for Charlotte and nearby areas. Contact us today for expert assistance in making the transition from R22 refrigerant or for help finding a new air conditioner that meets required environmental standards.