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After the discovery that R-22 has many negative effects for the environment, many new, greener refrigerants have been developed to take its place. Since the year 2010, the United States has ceased the use of R-22 refrigerant in new refrigerators and air conditioners. Thus if you have replaced your air conditioner or refrigerator after January 1, 2010, it probably does not use R-22 refrigerant. This manufacturing of R-22 refrigerant will cease entirely on January 1, 2020. After this time, all R-22 used to service existing air conditioners or refrigerators will come from stores of recycled or reclaimed R-22, as no new R-22 can be introduced into the United States.
Current Use of R-22
R-22 was a popular refrigerant for over four decades. The widespread use of R-22 means that if you own an air conditioner, refrigerator, or heat pump that predates the year 2010, it is likely that your comfort system uses R-22 as its refrigerant. If your air conditioner, refrigerator, or heat pump requires additional refrigerant between today and the year 2020, new R-22 may currently be used. However, because the import and manufacture of R-22 is now limited, you can expect the cost of replacing R-22 in your existing system to rise.
Future Use of R-22
After the year 2020, no new R-22 may be introduced into the United States
. If your older air conditioner, refrigerator or heat pump requires additional refrigerant after this time, it may only be added from a store of reclaimed and recycled R-22. Because this supply will be extremely limited, it will become even more costly to replace the refrigerant in your existing system. Alternatively, you may be able to retrofit your appliance to allow it to use alternative types of refrigerant
. While the retrofit itself may be costly, the price of alternative refrigerants will certainly be less than the cost of using limited R-22. However, many HVAC
manufacturers warn that using a refrigerant other than that which the system was designed for, and that it may also void any current warranty. Your air conditioner, refrigerator, or heat pump may also be more costly to run on a daily basis and may not deliver the cooling you expect. In this case, the most cost-effective solution may be to completely replace your older appliance with a new one that was originally designed to utilize refrigerants other than R-22. This option will deliver better performance at lower cost over the long term.
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