What You Need to Know About the EPA’s Phase-Out of ODS Refrigerants

If you own an air conditioning system that contains refrigerant known as R-22; there are big changes coming rapidly. The laws governing its production have had an ever-increasing effect on your choices in the event that you need to add or replace refrigerant in your system.  Simply stated: new production of R-22 has come to an end and the existing supply of R-22 is in short supply and getting shorter with each passing day.  As a result, the cost of the remaining R-22 is skyrocketing out of control.  The price of R-22 is increasing weekly if not daily. This situation has forced Lawrence Air Systems, Inc. to make some choices and form a policy concerning the addition and replacement of refrigerant for our customers with systems that contain R-22.

Difficult Decisions due to High Cost of R-22

If your system is found to be low on R-22 or if you have a failed component that requires removal of refrigerant to replace the part; you will be faced with a difficult decision due to the extremely high cost of R-22.

If your system uses R-22 and…

  • Is more than 9 or 10 years old and you are facing a major refrigerant repair, you should seriously consider replacing the system in order to avoid the problem entirely.
  • Is slightly low on R-22 (one or two pounds), you can choose to simply add R-22. This will be a costly repair and you would be facing the fact that if you need to add R-22 in the future; the cost will be exponentially higher. There is also a very real possibility that due to the short supply you may not even be able to find a contractor that has any left.
  • Is more than a pound or two low; we highly recommend that you have a leak check performed to locate the leak. Once we can locate the leak, we are better equipped to help you decide if a repair is prudent.

In any of the above cases, you have the option to replace the R-22 with an alternative refrigerant that is still being manufactured and more reasonably priced. This option may cost a fraction more in the short-term but future repairs and future refrigerant additions will be significantly cheaper than any R-22 repairs.

The Alternatives

There are a few good alternative refrigerants that do not require any major changes to your system to work effectively. (*2) We value your trust in our expertise and have done the research and training necessary to advise you with confidence which alternative refrigerant should be placed in your system. If you decide to choose an alternative refrigerant here are two things you need to know:

  1. There will be a slight decrease in the capacity of your system. This means your system will not be able to cool the home as much as before. The expected decrease in capacity is 5 -8%; we do not feel that a decrease of this level will be an issue and it’s unlikely that you will ever notice this change.
  2. Once you switch to an alternative refrigerant, we will mark the unit indicating the refrigerant used. It is very important to note that you will need to use that refrigerant and only that refrigerant in the future.
    Just in case you are wondering; there is no “top-off” refrigerant manufactured that can be added to your existing R-22 system. If you use any alternative refrigerant, the existing R-22 needs to be removed, the system will need to be evacuated, a new drier needs to be installed, and then the system can be recharged with the new refrigerant.

At Lawrence Air Systems, Inc., we are committed to serving our customers with excellence and will do our best to keep prices as low as we can while continuing to offer the best advice and world-class service possible. Please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions at 866-438-8525.

Additional Information:
https://www.epa.gov/ods-phaseout
http://www.achrnews.com/articles/131698-r—phaseout-slashes-supply-to–m-pounds