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 Phase Out of Ozone Depleting Substances, the theft of HCFC refrigerants and what all of this means to consumers, like you!
EPA TO PHASE OUT ALL HCFC REFRIGERANTS BY 2020
What is an HCFC refrigerant, you ask? HCFC stands for Hydrochlorofluorocarbon… R-22 or HCFC-22 is the most widely used HCFC refrigerant. Chances 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!
Another question, why haven’t I heard of them 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?
With these new refrigerant laws, you will no longer be able to purchase R-22 or any other HCFC refrigerants after 2020. But, that’s where things get a little tricky. What we are now hearing as HVAC contractors is we will no longer be able to purchase R-22 after 2018, but any remaining stock of said refrigerant that we may have, can be sold until 2020. So… If it’s already costing you an arm and a leg to top off your Air Conditioner, you can only expected it to get worse. However, their is another solution you might be interested in hearing about!
RETROFIT YOUR AC SYSTEM WITH NEW “DROP IN” REFRIGERANTS
Wait, what’s a drop in refrigerant? Drop in refrigerants 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 you will still be able to purchase them after 2020!
A question we get quite often is, “why can’t we just put the new refrigerant (R-410A) in my 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.
Okay, so what goes into retrofitting an R-22 system with a drop in refrigerant? What your 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. On average, how much does it cost? We thought you might ask that! On average, we find that most reputable companies charge anywhere from $900.00 to $1,400.00 to retrofit an existing R-22 system!
THEFT AND REFRIGERANT HUFFING BRINGS IN NEW REFRIGERANT LAWS
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 2018, we can only expect those numbers to go up!
Maybe it’s time for you to have tamper-resistant caps installed on your system!
HOW DO TAMPER-RESISTANT CAPS WORK AND HOW CAN I GET THEM INSTALLED?
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!)