R-22 refrigerant was used widely throughout the HVAC industry before the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) called for its phase out. Beginning January 1, 2010, newly manufactured systems cannot contain R-22 refrigerant, and instead must contain an approved replacement such as R-410A, which also goes by the name Puron, among others.
So why the phase out? Well, R-22 is considered an HCFC that is harmful to the ozone layer. When it leaks and gets into the atmosphere, it can be damaging to our ozone layer, leading officials to ban it from newly manufactured units and to phase it out over the next several years.
R-22 will still be available for those who have a system that uses R-22, so if your air conditioner or heat pump uses R-22, you don’t have to run out tomorrow to buy a new system. Eventually, however, supplies of R-22 will drop and, consequently, its price is expected to rise as companies producing the refrigerant begin to phase it out of their production schedule.
While you’ll still be able to obtain R-22 for your existing system, upgrading to a system that uses R-410A may be well worth the expense this year. Remember, the federal government’s tax credit of 30% of the cost of a qualifying air conditioner (including installation costs) up to $1,500 ends at the end of this year. You may also be able to take advantage of FPL’s rebate for energy efficient systems.
So while you aren’t likely to run into a shortage of R-22 in the immediate future, its phase out combined with incentives to upgrade to a more efficient system make this one of the best times to purchase a new air conditioner. Give us a call or shoot us an email for information about the phase out as well as the federal tax credit and FPL rebate!