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!

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

EPA TO PHASE OUT ALL HCFC REFRIGERANTS BY 2020

New refrigerant laws R22 phase out
New refrigerant laws R22 phase out

What is an HCFC refrigerant?  HCFC stands for Hydrochlorofluorocarbon… R-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!  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!

WHAT DOES THIS MEAN FOR ME?

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

With these new refrigerant laws, you will no longer be able to purchase new R-22 refrigerant 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!

COMBATING THE R22 PHASE OUT WITH NEW DROP IN REFRIGERANTS

What’s a drop in refrigerant?  Drop in refrigerants (aka R22 replacements), are being made to combat the scarcity of R22!  These drop in refrigerants are made to mirror R-22 as closely as possible, but are not HCFC refrigerants!  That means that they are not subjected to the R22 phase out and you will still be able to purchase these R22 replacements after 2020!

Why can’t you just put the new refrigerant (R-410A) in your existing R22 system?”  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.

How to retrofit an R-22 system with a drop in 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. 

How much does it cost?  On average, we find that most reputable companies charge anywhere from $900.00 to $1,500.00 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!

Retrofitting your HVAC System new refrigerant laws
Retrofitting your HVAC System with a drop in refrigerant
THEFT AND REFRIGERANT HUFFING BRING IN NEW REFRIGERANT LAWS
What are the New Refrigerant Laws
IRC M1411.6 and IMC 1101.10

Both 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!

NOW THAT WE'VE SEEN THESE NEW REFRIGERANT LAWS YOU NEED TO KNOW, LETS FIND OUT WHY THEY WE'RE 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 AND HOW CAN I GET THEM INSTALLED?

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

We thought you might ask that!  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 they 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!

HAVE A QUESTION THAT WE DIDN'T GO OVER?
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 (5)

  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.

  3. Henry Killingsworth
    Feb 20, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    I thought it was interesting when you explained that R-22 refrigerant won’t be available for purchase in 2020. As far as I know, the refrigerant is the liquid that is used to power the air conditioning in homes and cars. It would be interesting to learn more about what kind of alternatives are available for usage. https://www.certifiedrefrigerant.com/shop/

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