If the air conditioning system in your home was manufactured before 2010, it may use R-22 as the refrigerant (a substance that produces cold in a cooling mechanism by removing heat).
R-22 (also known as HCFC-22 or its commercial name, Freon) and R-142b have been banned for use in any HVAC equipment that was manufactured after January 1, 2010. R-22 and other chlorofluorocarbons have been shown to deplete the ozone layer, and contribute to the greenhouse effect. R-410A, the more environmentally friendly replacement, has a higher pressure that R-22, so it cannot be used in older equipment.
Technicians using R-22 are required to have an EPA Section 608 Certification to insure proper handling. And reputable heating and cooling companies will never just “top off” the R-22, and will look for and repair any cracks that caused the R-22 level to drop in the first place. You can learn more about the EPA guidelines for R-22 phase-out here.
While you are still able to have equipment made before 2010 serviced using R-22, its production is becoming much more limited and will become more difficult (and expensive) to obtain. So as time goes on, it will probably be more cost effective in the long run to upgrade your air conditioning system rather than try to replace the R-22 in an older unit. The newer air conditioner models are much more efficient, so you’ll have the added benefit of saving money on energy while helping protect the ozone layer.
You might be surprised at how affordable a new air conditioning system can be, especially if you take 2016 Federal tax credits and local utility company rebates into consideration. If you would like more information about upgrading your current unit in Hamilton or Marion County in Indiana, you can contact Star Heating and Cooling at 317-753-0279.