Phase Out Schedule for HCFCs Including R-22 in Las Vegas Valley and Henderson NV
Almost all air conditioning units running today require a refrigerant cooling solution that contains a significant amount of HCFCs or R-22 (hydrochlorofluorcarbons). The problem with that however is that by 2020, R-22 will be completely phased out.
In this article we’re going to cover exactly why R-22 is being phased out, how the process will work, and what will happen to HVAC units that require R-22 for their systems to run properly when it is no longer available for purchase.
Since the HCFC phase-out isn’t going to be widely reported on the news and other government channels, many consumers will not be prepared for upgrading their systems by the time. This will leave home owners with expensive R-22 refrigerant purchases or needing to replace their systems with one that does not require such a coolant which is no longer being manufactured.
Why Is R-22 Being Phased Out?
R-22 is a common refrigerant chemical but it is also very harmful to the environment and it depletes the ozone every time it is released into the air. Ozone-depleting chemicals were discovered in the 1980’s and ever since then various international guidelines have been passed to insure that these chemicals are not being used in consumer products.
In 1987 for example, The Montreal Protocol set guidelines for a worldwide phase-out of CFC chemicals that were damaging to the stratosphere. This same protocol also made it illegal for HVAC manufacturers to release CFC into the air.
The Montreal Protocol of 1987 also covered the phase-out of R-12, a refrigerant commonly used in automobiles, because it was also damaging to the ozone layer. In 1992, the Montreal Protocol called for the phase-out of HCFCs, including R-22, so that it is no longer used in consumer products. The U.S. setup a plan that year for the phase-out of HCFCs, that included the reduction of HCFC use by 35% by January, 2004. By January, 2010, the U.S. agreed to reduce consumption of the chemical by 75%. Then by 2015 the consumption has to drop below 90%, and by 2020 it has to drop by 99.5%.
How Will The Phase-Out Process Work?
Since 2010, HVAC manufacturers are no longer producing AC units and heat pumps that contain or require R-22 for running. They are still allowed to manufacture R-22 for servicing existing systems though. By 2020, or even an expedited 2018, manufacturing R-22 will no longer be possible. Although there will be substitutes for R-22.
Home owners will not be required to replace or upgrade their current R-22-running systems as part of the phase-out. They just won’t be able to purchase new R-22 for maintenance or purchase new systems that run on R-22 refrigerant.
Maintaining R-22 Systems Past 2020
Although the manufacturing of R-22 will no longer be legal after 2020, consumers will be allowed to use recycled or reclaimed R-22 refrigerant regardless. The quality of the refrigerant and the lifetime it will give AC units is not certain however. A much better alternative to purchasing expensive recycled R-22 refrigerant will be to retrofit an older unit to be serviced with R-410 refrigerant coolants.
The good news for most home owners however is that AC units typically last 6-10 years. So by the time R-22 will not be available for manufacturing and soon afterwards purchasing, home owners will be considering replacing their systems anyways.