Why is R-22 refrigerant so expensive?
Back in 1987, the first world nations passed something called the Montreal Protocol in an attempt to save our Ozone from being destroyed. In 1995 the Environmental Protection Agency found the main refrigerant used by air conditioning units, R-22, to be harmful to the ozone layer. So in 2005, the EPA required all new air conditioners to use a refrigerant that was less harmful to the environment. However, many units still use R-22 making the phase-out an ongoing process.
In the past R-22, or more commonly referred to as “R-22”, was very cheap. Contractors used to be able to buy a cylinder for $70~$80, now that same size cylinder is worth about $900.
Air conditioning manufacturers stopped producing equipment that use R-22 refrigerant as a coolant in January 2010. As a result of the supply going down the cost of R-22 refrigerant has skyrocketed and the cost will only continue to rise. The government has been phasing it out for years and production is set to halt entirely by 2020.
About Puron Refrigerant
Companies are now installing units that use Puron or R-410, which is much less harmful to our environment.
Being proactive is the best thing you can do. Replacing your unit now will save you the cost of trying to fix your air conditioning in the future.
The government will not be knocking on your door if you own a system that runs on R-22 refrigerant in 2020. You should know, however, that R-22 refrigerant will not be available after that date. Of course, you will have nothing to be worried about until your air conditioning unit breaks down. If it does though, you should anticipate a high repair bill.
Watch for counterfeit R-22 refrigerant
With the rising price of R-22 refrigerant, there is bound to be counterfeit versions on the market offering you a great deal. These lower costing counterfeits can actually damage your Air conditioning unit and should be avoided at all costs.
According to EPA, some contractors are using off-brand, unapproved refrigerants that could damage your air conditioning system irreparably or even start a fire.
Don’t go through a third party supplier. Check that your service tech has his/her EPA section 608 Certification which requires your tech to know about Ozone depletion, substitute refrigerants, and safety.
Also take a close look at the labeling of the refrigerant your technician is using. R-22a, 12a and 290 should not be used in residential air conditioning units.
What you should do
One of the best things you can do that would save you money is to have an air conditioning maintenance and check up performed on your home AC system. R-22 refrigerant in your AC system should last almost forever, but if your coolant line has a leak, it can drain your system of expensive freon. It is not uncommon for leaks to form over time. A simple checkup of your system could save you hundreds of dollars.
We hope this post has been helpful to you and explains why it was so expensive if you tried to buy R-22 refrigerant recently.
Need help with your air conditioning?
AccuMax provides you air conditioning repair to get your AC running again as soon as possible.
AccuMax Inc is a full-service HVAC heating and cooling company providing, repair, installation, and maintenance of air conditioning, central air, furnaces, and more. Located in Aurora, IL, we serve the western suburbs including Naperville, Aurora, Oswego, Batavia, Wheaton, North Aurora, Lombard, Downers Grove, Warrenville, Darien, Westmont, Willowbrook, Clarendon Hills, Westchester, LaGrange, Willow Springs, Lisle, Riverside, Woodridge, Plainfield, Oak Brook, and Hinsdale among others.