Out with the old and in with the new! Did you know that freon, also known as HCFC-22 and R-22, will no longer be manufactured as of January this year? EPA studies have shown that the chemicals in freon are harmful to the environment. Because of the danger to the ozone, all production of freon has been banned starting last month.
What does this mean for homeowners? This may mean that older heating/cooling systems will, in most cases, need to be upgraded in the near future to a system that takes R410A, or Puron. Most newer systems already use this chemical, which is not harmful to the environment. If your system is older than 2015, you may need to take a look. According to one HVAC company, you may be able to retrofit your old AC system “if the coils are compatible with R410A refrigerant, HVAC technicians can replace the outdoor unit without needing to modify other components throughout your house.” Retrofitting can sometimes be almost as expensive as replacing the unit. Also, remember that the average lifespan of an AC unit is 15 years, so it may make sense to upgrade to a more modern system anyway. A newer model will probably be more energy efficient and cost effective.
Most HVAC technicians have been slowing phasing out the use of Freon over the last few years, so this may not impact you. However, if you still have a unit that requires freon, you may see an increase in costs related to freon as supplies dwindle.