Replacing Freon-Based R-22 In Your Air Conditioning System

Freon based R-22 refrigerants are harmful to the environment and to your health. This is why it is now illegal to use air conditioning equipment with freon based refrigerants.

All air conditioning equipment used before 2004 used freon refrigerants. Research soon showed that freon is one of the gases that cause depletion of the ozone layer. While you can operate the old system, you cannot in future under law add freon based R-22 refrigerant to your system.

If you start replacing the air conditioning system immediately, you will not have problems in the future for repairing or maintaining your air conditioning system. There are many qualified and certified companies that will immediately replace your R-22 system or convert the system to use safer and environmentally-friendly refrigerants and help the system run smoothly and efficiently without disruption.


The U.S. EPA has phased-out the use of ozone-depleting agents including R-22 as part of an international agreement called the Montreal Protocol. They began the phasing out of the freon in the year 2003. The import and production was prohibited in the year 2010. By 2020 the law hopes to eliminate all production and import of these products.

If you need to buy and replace R-22 refrigerant in your air conditioning system, you can get this done only by a certified technician. This is because unqualified technicians may release R-22 into the air and it is now illegal to intentionally release the refrigerant during repairs. Certified technicians will use refrigerant recovery equipment while servicing air conditioning systems containing freon The EPA has provided a lengthy replacement period to enable users to slowly start replacing R-22 air conditioning equipment.

During the phase out period the EPA is slowly reducing with a view to totally prohibit the import and manufacture of freon products. This means that users of air conditioning equipment made before the year 2004 will find it difficult and very expensive to replace R-22 refrigerant in their old air conditioning equipment. The Clean Air Act helps technicians educate their customers to understand the importance of using environmentally friendly and energy efficient refrigerants in their refrigerators and in their air conditioning systems.

Time Line

You may be aware that the prices of R-22 today are extremely high. This is because the EPA has started seriously phasing out the use of freon a little at a time 20 years ago. This year the production dropped 55 percent from last year. Each time production is reduced, the price of repairing and replacing freon air conditioning systems increases at an alarming rate.

The goal of the EPA is to phase out air conditioning systems that use R-22 completely before the first of January 2020. No manufacture or import of air conditioning equipment containing R-22 will be allowed in the US after the first of January 2020. Owning an air conditioning system that requires this refrigerant will become extremely expensive.

This is because most emergency repairs for an air conditioning system require replacement of refrigerant. The Montreal Protocol was signed by several countries including the USA agreeing to phase out the use of refrigerants using chlorofluorocarbons or CFCs and to find alternatives to replace CFCs. CFCs were found to be the cause of the depletion of the ozone layer.

In January 2010, the EPA banned the manufacture of R-22 but exempted servicing of large plants and existing air conditioning systems. On January the first 2015 the sale and use became illegal. There was an exception made for servicing existing air conditioning equipment that required R-22. On the first of January 2020, the production and import of R-22 will become totally illegal.

Air conditioning systems can be serviced using the available stockpile of R-22 after the first of January 2020. Getting this refrigerant after the first of January 2020 will be expensive and unpredictable. Stockpiles of R-22 will deplete rapidly and owners will have to buy new EPA approved equipment or stop using their existing equipment.

Benefits of Replacing-R-22

Replacing R-22 is beneficial in many ways. You will use a healthier refrigerant in your air conditioning system and become healthier as a result. You will also show yourself to be socially responsible. The freon content in the refrigerant is proven to have caused the depletion of the ozone layer resulting in climate change and global warming. By changing the old air conditioning systems, you will be making an environmentally friendly choice and reduce the carbon footprint of your home or organization.

Most air conditioning systems that contain freon are old and often inefficient. They would have been installed before EPA regulations came into force in 2004. The average life of a well-maintained air conditioning system is 15 years. A modern air conditioning system will be more efficient and lower your utility bills. Installing a new air conditioning also gives you tax savings. The government rewards you for taking an environmental step.

You can save up to $5000 in taxes for replacing air conditioning systems containing freon and if you have more than one system or a large system you will get larger tax savings. The law allows you to write-off the expense incurred by you to buy all new components while replacing an air conditioning system that requires R-22 refrigerant. If the nameplate on the air conditioning unit shows the use of this refrigerant, it is time to reap the benefits of replacing the unit with a modern one.


Manufacturing and importing air conditioning and other equipment using the refrigerant is soon going to be completely illegal. Fortunately, there are many refrigerants in the market that are environmentally safe and do not cause the depletion of the ozone layer. R-134A, R-407c and R-410A.

Experts believe that the best choice for air conditioning systems is the refrigerant R-410A. R507 and R404A are the best alternatives for freon in refrigerators. The EPA has a list of alternative refrigerants and contractors are asked to tell customers about the advantages of using these alternatives to R-22.

Another EPA approved alternative refrigerant is the R458A refrigerant. R458A can replace R22 as a refrigerant without any modification and is a low- cost option replacement. It has been declared by the EPA as a refrigerant with a low GWP or Global Warming Potential. It has also improved the performance and durability of refrigeration systems and air conditioning systems.

If you choose to convert the refrigerant in your old system, you need to get the conversion performed by a certified technician who is trained to maintain, operate and, install the equipment. You can either replace your system completely or replace the outdoor and indoor units or opt for a cost-effective solution of using drop-in EPA approved refrigerants.

Maintaining the air conditioning system that contains freon will soon burn a large hole in your finances. The time has come for you to replace your air conditioning system or to convert its components so that it can use an EPA approved and environmentally safe refrigerant.

Replacing your old environmentally-unfriendly air conditioning system is a prudent step because you will have a healthy, efficient and modern system in place that will not deplete your finances with high utility costs and will also not deplete the ozone layer. More importantly, the government rewards you for your timely step and you will get a large tax reduction for replacing or converting your air conditioning system or systems.