In a case when your air conditioner is leaking, you might be asking yourself, what kind of refrigerant does my AC unit use? There can actually be two different answers for this question. If your house was built prior to 2010, chances are you have an air conditioning system that uses R-22 (commonly known as Freon). Now if you live in a residence built after the year of 2010, you’re using something completely different.
For the majority of the 20th century, R-22 was the standard refrigerant used in air conditioners until the entire globe realized that this particular refrigerant is lethal to Earth’s environment. The EPA (U.S. Environmental Protection Agency) began to phase out the supply on a mass-scale, which dates back to 1998. As of 2010, R-22 refrigerant is no longer allowed to be used in newly-manufactured air conditioner units. So what does this have to do with you?
Since air conditioning units will not be using this refrigerant moving forward, this changes how everyone will be cooling their homes. R410A has been approved for use in all newly-manufactured air conditioners, and is now the standard.. This is a non-flammable, non corrosive refrigerant that operates on high pressure.
The predicament here is that older air conditioning systems can NOT use R410A. It requires higher pressure, and can significantly damage your system. In addition to that, since the R-22 refrigerant is no longer being manufactured, the prices will skyrocket because of supply, and when the old stuff is gone, you will be forced to purchase an entirely new unit.
Since 2015, there has actually been a ban on the sale and use of R-22, but there are some exceptions for case by case scenarios. The EPA’s plan to get rid of the R-22 refrigerant will officially be phased out by the year 2020. To be on the safe side, it might be a smarter idea to go ahead and get a new unit installed in your home, sooner than later.
With all of this granted, the movement for all homes to have an Eco-friendly air conditioning system is for the greater cause of Earth’s biome. Even though purchasing a new unit might cost more upfront compared to refilling/fixing your old system (if you can get away with it), the long term investment for this new air conditioning system will be necessary by the year 2020. The longer you wait, the more expensive it will get.