Straight Talk About
In 1987, the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental agreement, established requirements that began the worldwide phase-out of ozone-depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons.) This Protocol is carried out in the United States as part of the Clean Air Act, which is implemented by the EPA.
A TALE OF TWO REFRIGERANTS.
A chemical compound known as R-22 has been the refrigerant of choice for residential heat pump and air conditioning systems for more than four decades. Unfortunately for the environment, releases of R-22 that result from system leaks contribute to ozone depletion. The air conditioning industry, therefore, has sought a suitable replacement. The replacement refrigerant of choice is R-410A. Unlike R-22, R-410A contains no chlorine in its chemical make-up. R-410A meets the stringent mandates of both the Montreal Protocol and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
IS R-22 OBSOLETE?
Nearly all residential air conditioning systems in use utilize R-22 refrigerant. Should consumers be concerned? The truth, as stated by the Air Conditioning and Refrigeration Institute (ARI) is as follows:
“Refrigerant 22 is regulated by international controls under the Montreal Protocol and in the United States by the Environmental Protection Agency. It has a long life ahead of it as it is scheduled to be in production until the year 2020. It is used in approximately 95% of the equipment produced in the United States today.”
The EPA has stated that even after the year 2020, use of existing refrigerant will be allowed to service existing systems. In short, we believe that there is no need for concern, and that R-22 prices will stay stable for years - if not decades - to come.
WHAT CONSUMERS SHOULD DO.
You, as a responsible consumer, are no doubt interested in preserving the environment. What can you do? According to an EPA bulletin:
“One important thing a homeowner can do for the environment, regardless of the refrigerant used, is to select a reputable dealer that employs service service technicians who are EPA certified to handle refrigerants.”
The EPA goes on to say:
“Another important thing a homeowner can do for the environment is to purchase a highly energy- efficient system.”
For more detailed information on refrigerants please click on the following links to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) website:
What You Should Know about Refrigerants When Purchasing or Repairing a Residential A/C System or Heat Pump
Homeowners' Frequently Asked Questions About R-22 Refrigerant