New Refrigerant Laws You Need To Know In 2020

New Refrigerant Laws You Need To Know In 2020

Have You Heard About The New Refrigerant Laws?

In today’s world, refrigerant is getting more expensive, criminals are getting craftier and some others may be trying to find a cheap way to get “high.” This is why we want to tell you about the new refrigerant laws you need to know!  In this blog, we will go over the EPA’s R22 Phase Out and other Ozone Depleting Substances, Drop In Refrigerants aka R22 Replacements, the theft of HCFC refrigerants and what all of this means to consumers, like you!

Frequently Asked Questions:

Is R22 already phased out?
What does this mean for me?
Can you still buy R22?
Where can you buy R22?
Do contractors still sell R22?
Is there a replacement for R22?
Why is R22 being phased out?
What is a drop in refrigerant?
Is there a drop in refrigerant for R-22?
What are HCFC refrigerants?
What are the new refrigerant laws?
Why haven’t I heard of the new refrigerant laws until now?
Can I use the new refrigerant (R-410a) in my existing R-22 equipment?

New Refrigerant Laws
Here we can see several different types of refrigerant a technician may run across in the field


Is R22 already phased out?

Yes, R22 was scheduled to be completely phased out by the EPA by January 1, 2020.  Please follow these links for more information about R22 availability or other solutions.

What is an HCFC refrigerant?

HCFC stands for HydrochlorofluorocarbonR-22, also known as HCFC-22 or Chlorodifluoromethane is the most widely used HCFC refrigerantChances are, if you have an AC system over ten years old, you are most likely using this refrigerant!

Why is R22 being phased out?

The EPA has deemed that HCFCs are depleting Earth’s ozone layer and has been systematically phasing out these refrigerants with these new refrigerant laws for quite some time now!

Why haven’t I heard of the New Refrigerant Laws until now?

Well, that’s actually an easy answer!  Most people simply haven’t noticed the rising prices until now!  You see, the EPA started a 10 year phase out plan in 2010!  Every year, manufacturers of HCFC refrigerants like DuPont, for instance, have been forced to scale back production more and more!  It may not have been quite so noticeable until recent years, when the price hike really started to sky rocket due to high demand and low supply!

New refrigerant laws R22 phase out
New refrigerant laws R22 phase out
What does this mean for me?

With these new refrigerant laws, manufacturers will no longer be able make R-22 or any other HCFC refrigerants after 2020 due to the R22 Phase out.  So…  If it’s already costing you an arm and a leg to top off your Air Conditioner, you can only expect it to get worse.  However, their is another solution you might be interested in hearing about!

The New Refrigerant Laws You Need To Know
What can I do about it?

What’s a drop in refrigerant?

  Drop in refrigerants are refrigerants that directly replace another refrigerant, without the need of any retrofitting process!  Drop in refrigerants can be used to charge a system without the recovery of the existing refrigerant, changing of oil or driers on the existing equipment!

Is there a drop in refrigerant for R-22?

This can be a very confusing subject for some to understand, as this term can mean different things to different people.  We’ll try to break down the confusion so that you understand the terminology as best as possible.

Some, think of a “drop in” refrigerant as a refrigerant that can be “mixed” with the R22 that is already inside your equipment. 

Others, think of “drop in” refrigerants as refrigerants that are compatible with R22 equipment, but do however require that the existing refrigerant be recovered and possibly a few other extra measures be taken such as an oil change or changing of the liquid line drier before charging with the new “drop in” refrigerant.

So No, there are not any drop in refrigerants available that can be mixed with R-22 at this time. 

But Yes, there are drop R-22 replacement refrigerants that are widely available.  The only difference is that these refrigerants do require some retrofitting to be done to your existing equipment in order to use them on your R-22 heating and air conditioning system!

Is there a replacement for R22?

Yes, there are a plethora of R-22 replacement refrigerants available on today’s market.  However, none of these refrigerants are “drop in replacements” and do require some retrofitting to your existing R22 equipment.

Retrofitting your HVAC System new refrigerant laws
Retrofitting your HVAC System with a drop in refrigerant

How much does it cost to retrofit an R22 system to an R22 replacement refrigerant?

$900.00 to $1,500.00 is the average price we have found among most reputable companies to retrofit an existing R-22 system with an R22 Replacement refrigerant!  It certainly can be expensive to do, but it could certainly help you get around the R22 Phase Out by the EPA for a little longer.

If you live within our Service Area, we would be happy to assist you in retrofitting your HVAC system!  Feel free to contact us at (817) 354-5822 to schedule service!

How to retrofit an R22 system with an R22 replacement refrigerant?

  What your Section 608 Certified Technician will need to do is recover all existing R-22, pull a vacuum on your system and then charge it back up with a new drop in refrigerant like R-407C, or whichever R22 Replacement would be applicable to your system. In some cases, an oil change on your system and the changing of your drier may also be necessary to prevent contamination.

Can I use the new refrigerant (R-410A) refrigerant in my existing R22 system?

No, you cannot use R-410A refrigerant on your existing R22 equipment.  While in some cases it may be possible to use parts of your existing HVAC system, in most cases it is not recommended.  However, even if you were to use your existing evaporator coil, air handler or furnace, you would still need to change out your condenser.  This is because R410A refrigerant runs at higher pressures and all around has much different characteristics then R22.  Your compressor was not designed to use this refrigerant and unfortunately, it just wont work.

What are the new refrigerant laws?

IRC M1411.8 and IMC 1101.10 have been put into play in many areas around the U.S., which require that all accessible HVAC refrigerant ports to be secured with tamper-resistant caps!  These laws are not associated with the R22 Phase out by the EPA, but could potentially help if your R22 or other refrigerants are being stolen!  This will help protect your heating and air conditioning system from theft and would be refrigerant huffers!

What are the New Refrigerant Laws
IRC M1411.6 and IMC 1101.10

Why were the new refrigerant laws made?

Originally, these mandates were brought into effect in the effort of reducing the increase of teen air-conditioning refrigerant-related huffing deaths.  By now you should already be aware that the refrigerant R22 is currently at the end of it’s life.  After 2020, consumers will be forced to upgrade to R410A refrigerant and equipment or use drop in refrigerants!  This is because the EPA has decided on 2018 as the last year of the phase out plan.  With that said, the current price of R22 is enough to give consumers a serious headache!  Since the price hike, there have been countless reports of stolen R22 across the United States!  With only an extremely limited supply of recycled R22 available after 2020, we can only expect those numbers to go up!

Maybe it’s time for you to have tamper-resistant caps installed on your system!

The New Refrigerant Laws Regarding Huffers
Maybe the third times the charm...

How do tamper resistant caps work?

Tamper-resistant caps work the same way your old caps do, except these caps can be opened with a key that only your technician has!

How much do tamper resistant caps cost?

We charge $50 for the caps, but the price can vary depending on your HVAC service provider.  If you would like to have them installed you can contact us here or call us at (817) 354-5822 to schedule service!

New Refrigerant Laws Locking Caps
It's time to lock that refrigerant up!

Ask us in the comments below and we will answer it!

(It’s important to note that the information in this news report is not 100% accurate. R22 is not the only refrigerant being huffed or stolen!  As a matter of fact, even the newer refrigerants, such as R410a are experiencing similar issues!  These newer refrigerants are still subject to the same laws!)

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Comments (4)

  1. Patricia Jones
    Jun 17, 2019 at 4:43 am

    If the condenser and inside coils have to be replaced to accommodate the new freon laws, does that mean the heating unit under the coils has to be replaced also?

    • Richard Howard
      Aug 06, 2019 at 8:47 pm

      What we suggest is that customers replace the entire HVAC system in most cases. However, if you are on a tight budget, their are other ways to make it work. As long as your evaporator coil (Indoor coil) is rated to handle R-410A refrigerant, you could simply replace your condensing unit (outdoor unit) and your TXV or piston (a Thermal Expansion Valve or piston is the metering device that both regulates the amount of refrigerant entering the coil and flashes it from a liquid into a gas). Since R-410A (the new refrigerant) runs at much higher pressures then R-22 (the old refrigerant), it has to be replaced with the proper metering device, whether it be a piston or TXV.

      The second option would be what is called a “drop in refrigerant”. These refrigerants are designed to mirror R-22 as closely as possible and do not require the replacement of any equipment at all. Your technician would simply have to recover the old R-22 refrigerant, change your schrader valves, pull a vacuum on the system and then recharge the system with your drop in refrigerant of choice.

      Thank you for the comment and hope this helps!

  2. Vinny Pisko
    Jul 01, 2019 at 2:05 am

    Hello, I just came across a new refrigerator for sale,the item is using pentane or isopentane as refrigerant.Given the size of the appliance (20 cubic feet) I wonder how much of the gas/liquid charge it contains and what the fire scenario would be in an apartment fire.As I recall there was a horrific fire which destroyed an entire hi-rise building in London England,the ignition source was an overheated refrigerator which lost its charge. I know that isopentane is legal to use as refrigerant in the “green” England.That building is condemned and slated for demolition,last I heard.

    • Richard Howard
      Aug 06, 2019 at 8:38 pm

      Well in regards to refrigerant being a fire risk, unfortunately many oils commonly used in refrigerant circuits today are certainly still flammable and have caused all sorts of fires in the past. Many things come into play when researching what could be the root of the fire such as amperage to the compressor and other motors. How safe is it? I could not really give you any idea as we don’t typically work on refrigerators. But most of them that I have seen/worked on have been running R-134A refrigerant.