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:

EPA TO PHASE OUT HCFC REFRIGERANTS COMPLETELY AFTER 2020

Is R22 Already Phased Out?

Is R22 already phased out?

Yes, R22 is already phased out.  There are a few ways to get around this, however.  If you want to find out how you can still get R22, or R22 replacement refrigerants, then you are going to want to check this out or just keep reading!  R22 was scheduled to be completely phased out by the EPA by January 1, 2020. 

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R22 new refrigerant laws phase out
Is R22 already phased out?

What Is An HCFC Refrigerant?

What is an HCFC refrigerant?

HCFC stands for HydrochlorofluorocarbonR-22, also known as HCFC-22 or Chlorodifluoromethane 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!
As of 1/1/2020, these refrigerants were phased out by the EPA.

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

Why Is R22 Being Phased Out?

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!
Luckily, there are quite a few R-22 replacement refrigerants on the market that can help you get by until you are ready to replace your air conditioning system.  You might want to check into this… It could be a good option for you!

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why is r22 being phased out
Why is R22 being phased out?

Why Haven’t I Heard?

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

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!
But don’t worry, if your not in a position to purchase a brand new HVAC system… There is another option!

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Why haven't I heard about the New Refrigerant Laws until now
Why haven't I heard about the New Refrigerant Laws until now?

Can You Still Buy R22?

Can you still buy R22?

Yes.  While R-22 refrigerant is no longer in production, an extremely limited supply of recycled R22 is still on the market.  However, prices are extremely high!  If you plan on hanging on to your leaking R22 system, a better option would be retrofitting your system to a R22 replacement refrigerant.  Though it may cost a little bit more up front to do, you will save a ton of money on Refrigerant in the future!

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Can you still buy r22
Can You Still Buy R-22?

Where Can I Buy R22?

Where can you buy R22?

Some supply shops still offer an extremely limited supply of recycled R-22 refrigerant to contractors.  Though, it is important to note that only contractors or technicians with a valid 608 certification can purchase R-22 refrigerant.
In most cases, customers are much better off retrofitting their system to an R-22 replacement refrigerant.

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Where Can I Buy R22
Where Can You Buy R22?

What Does This Mean?

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!

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

What’s A Drop In Refrigerant?

What is a drop in refrigerant?

 Drop in refrigerants are refrigerants that replace another refrigerant.  But don’t stop there, because it’s not a simple as you think.  

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 it down for you, 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 refrigerant that is already inside your equipment, such as R-22. 

Others, think of “drop in” refrigerants as refrigerants that are compatible with the original refrigerant designed for your equipment (such as R22), but do however require that the existing refrigerant be recovered and possibly a few extra measures be taken such as an oil change or changing of the liquid line drier before charging the system with the new “drop in” refrigerant.  We call this a retrofit!

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

R22 Drop in?

Is there a drop in refrigerant for R22?

Yes, there are many drop in replacements for R22, but you’re going to want to read this before moving forward.  Because may not what you think!

However, there are not any drop in refrigerants available that can be mixed with R-22 at this time.

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Is there a drop in refrigerant for r22
Is there a drop in refrigerant for R22?

Is There A Replacement For R22?

Is there a replacement for R22?

Yes, there are R-22 replacement refrigerants available!  However, you’ll need to read this first, because it will require some retrofitting of your existing system.  Simply put, none of these refrigerants are what some would consider exact “drop in refrigerants” and do require some retrofitting to your existing R22 equipment.

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

How Much Does It Cost?

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 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!

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

How To Retrofit An R22 System?

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 R422D, MO99, R407C  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.
Of course, there is a cost to retrofitting your system to a drop in refrigerant, but it will save you tons of money in the long run (if you plan on keeping your system that long.)

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

Can I Use R410A Instead?

Can you use r410A in a 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.
In our opinion, in makes much more sense to replace your system as a whole, but you might be interested in retrofitting your system to a drop in refrigerant.  These refrigerants are designed to combat the EPA’s R22 phase out and can take the place of R22 without the need to replace your equipment.

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

What Are The New Refrigerant Laws?

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!

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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!

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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!

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How do tamper resistant caps work
How do tamper resistant caps work?

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!

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

(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.