‘Freon,’ our cool friend is leaving us. Freon™ (also known as hydrochlorofluorocarbons, HCFS and R-22) is a refrigerant often used in air-conditioning equipment. However, chemicals within freon deplete the Earth’s protective ozone layer contributing to many health ailments including skin cancer and cataracts plus the geological effects of climate change.
To protect our planet’s ozone layer, the United States government (in conjunction with a global effort) is phasing out R-22, along with other environmentally-harmful chemicals. Consequently, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) has banned the manufacture of new systems containing or requiring R-22.
Don’t panic, you have time to address this. The government has allowed a lengthy phaseout period to replace your R-22 use air-conditioning equipment. Just do it when the need arises, for instance, when the unit becomes old, inefficient or ineffective. Homeowners should consider several factors relating to this government policy. When servicing or replacing home HVAC units, homeowners must be mindful of the refrigerant used.
The most common alternative to R-22 is R-410A. This alternative does not deplete the ozone and is manufactured and sold under various names including GENTRON AZ-20®, SUVA® 410A, AND PURON®.
As a reminder, you are not required to stop using R-22 air-conditioners, nor replace existing equipment. The production (not use) of R-22 is being phased out. However, as the remaining R-22 quantities become scarce the price may increase and the turnaround time required to service your R-22 unit may lengthen due to the principles of supply and demand.
For more information visit EPA’s website at https://www.epa.gov/ozone-layer-protection
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