The Freon/R22 dilemma

A little explanation of what is going on with R22 in the AC world.

R22/Freon what?

What is this crazy stuff?

R22 (aka freon) is the chemical in your AC system that is used to cool and dehumidify you home.

Is it consumable?

R22 is not a consumable item, nor is it a fuel.  AC systems are sealed and if there is five pounds of R22 in your system today, in five years there should still be five pounds.  If there isn't, there is a leak, period. 

Are there substitutes?

Yes.  There have been several substitutes made.  They refer to them as drop-ins but that name is misleading.  Refrigerants cannot be mixed in a system ever.  But, they can be converted.

Why is it going away?

The EPA determined that R22 and other like it are contributing to the depletion of the ozone and thereby global warming. 

Cause and Effect

Supply and demand set retail prices.  Because the supply of R22 has been seriously decreased, the cost per pound has gone up substantially. 

What is the replacement?

For the last 10 years or more, the replacement refrigerant is 410A.  It theoretically causes no ozone depletion and works in your AC just as well.  The bad news is that in 2017, there is a shortage driving the price of 410A up as well.  

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