What You Need to Know About the R-22 Phaseout Impact

November 6, 2019

For more than 20 years, Charlotte Mechanical has been the HVAC company you turn to when major changes involve your air conditioning unit.

One of those changes involves the phaseout of  R-22, a refrigerant that is used in many residential A/C systems. Charlotte Mechanical wants to inform you of this phaseout, how it impacts your home and what you can do now to prepare for the refrigerant.

What is R-22 and why is it being phased out?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, under the U.S. Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United States is phasing out the production and import of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) in order to protect the ozone layer. HCFC-22 is commonly referred to as R-22. 

Starting on Jan. 1, 2020, U.S. production and import of HCFC-22 will end.

As a consumer, what do I need to be doing right now to prepare for this phaseout?

Start saving for replacing your existing HVAC system. Charlotte Mechanical offers financing options to help ease the cost of the replacement, but it’s good to start saving for big-ticket items such as a new air conditioning unit. 

Do I have to get a new unit?

No, not yet. Charlotte Mechanical can still add R-22, but it will continue to get more expensive as the supply will get more scarce as we near Jan. 1, 2020.

There are alternative “drop in” refrigerants that you can put in your A/C unit. There are some downsides of which we’d like to make you aware

  • This may require several modifications to your existing system, raising the repair bill and there is no “drop in” that works as well or as efficient as R-22.
  • The “drop ins” cannot be added directly on top of R-22. It is required to remove all of the remaining R-22 and then recharge the system with the “drop in.”
  • If there is an existing leak in the system, you can’t just add more of the “drop in.” That would require a full recovery and recharge of the entire system every time your system gets low on “drop in” refrigerant. 

Charlotte Mechanical does not and will not use “drop in” refrigerants. We have R-22 for now and an aftermarket sealing chemical that can be added to try and stop/slow down the leak. But our expert technicians want to guide you in the right direction and help you make the best financial decision, which is to not waste the money on repairing an R-22 system and instead invest that money in a new system with our 10-year part and labor warranty. 

Can Charlotte Mechanical retrofit my current unit so that it meets the new standards?

Unfortunately, we can’t. There is no way to retrofit an old unit to new standards. It will require replacement of the equipment because the R-22 and R-410 operate at completely different pressures. The compressor and coil sizes are all different to accommodate this.

What is the best air conditioning system for the new EPA standards?

There are a lot of good options. 

You can never go wrong purchasing a Trane. Trane has a very long track record of being the most dependable and long-lasting HVAC equipment. Trane also has special financing offers to make it easy to pay off your air conditioning replacement. 

Single stage equipment with a Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating (SEER) between 14 – 20 can meet people’s budget. The most popular options are 16 SEER single stage equipment and 18 SEER two stage equipment. Both options offer improved efficiency and comfort without having to make much of an extra investment upfront. The 16 – 20 SEER units also qualify for Duke Energy rebates. 

What is Charlotte Mechanical’s process during this phaseout?

Our expert HVAC technicians provide free estimates for replacements for your A/C equipment, even if your existing system is working well because it doesn’t hurt to know what an option to upgrade will cost.

We are happy to answer any questions that you may have about the R-22 phaseout and the best options for your family and home. Our number one priority is to steer you toward the best financial direction.

Book an appointment or give us a call at 704-771-1020 to schedule a free estimate and figure out the next steps you should take for your home.