Phasing Out Freon: The Impact The EPA Regulation Has On Your Wallet

Out with the old, in with the new. We’re not just talking about the Oval Office here, but also your HVAC refrigerant.

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With the passing of the Clean Air Act of 1990, companies have been working with legislators to reduce carbon emissions and their potential impact on the ozone layer.

Freon--or R22, the coolant used in most refrigerants--needs to be phased out by 2020, according to the Clean Air Act.

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Systems using R22, which is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (aka HCFC, aka bad for the environment), will be replaced with Refrigerant 401A, whose goal is to reduce carbon emissions that can negatively impact our planet’s ozone layer. Refrigerant 401A has been approved (yay!) for use in residential air conditioners and has taken over as the new standard coolant.

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So Why Is Freon So Expensive?

This is one of the biggest complaints we hear. The answer is simple supply and demand. Since the only way to get more freon is through the expensive and delicate process of reclaiming and recycling existing freon there is simply less of it to go around, even though most people still need it for their air conditioners. The result, a low supply and a high demand has driven up the price of freon. Watch this video to learn more about the reclaiming process.

I Need More Freon, Now What?

If your system needs more freon, this is indicative of a leak which can occur in older systems. With the cost of freon at $100 per pound, do your homework and see if it is cost effective to repair the freon or if it might be time to replace your unit.

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