R-22 Refrigerant Frequently Asked Questions

R-22 was one of the most popular refrigerants and longest used refrigerants in the world. In 2020 it will be phased out entirely across the United States but there are still so many people who have an R-22 unit for their home, office, or grocery store. Here are some of the most common questions that I see when it comes to R-22:

  • How Do I Know If My Unit Takes R-22 Refrigerant?
    • On the outside of your home air conditioner (The unit that sits outside) you should see a white tag with a bunch of information on it. Here is where you will find exactly what type of refrigerant your unit takes. Chances are though folks if your unit is from before 2010 that it is taking R-22 and if it is after 2010 then it is an R-410A unit.
  • Can I buy R-22 today without an Environmental Protection Agency license?
    • No, in order to purchase ANY quantity of R-22 you need to be 608 certified with the EPA. The only other way around this is by providing an intent to resale certificate. This certificate states that you will not actually use the product but that you are instead selling it to another end user. It will then be on you to collect the 608 certification of the person or business that you will be selling to.
  • Why is R-22 so expensive?
    • R-22’s extreme cost can be tied to the global phase-down and phase-out. It is already banned from being manufactured or imported in the European Union and here in the United States we only have until 2020 before it is also banned here. This upcoming ban has caused a shortage across the industry which has raised price. I do not see the price going down anytime soon.
  • When did the R-22 Phase-Down Begin?
    • The official phase-down began back in 2010. The phase-down was a tiered process and with each passing the year the belt tightens until we hit that 2020 deadline where no more imports or production can occur. Please refer to the phase out table that we provided in our ‘Points of Note’ section of this article.
  • Why was R-22 Phased Out?
    • R-22 was phased out due to the Chlorine that it contained. It was found that when R-22 was vented into the air either through a leak or venting that the Chlorine would float up and into the Ozone layer where it would not break down. The Chlorine then caused damage to the Ozone layer that alerted scientists.
  • Where Can I Get R-22 After 2020?
    • As I said above, R-22 will no longer be able to be imported or manufactured in the United States. Once this law is in effect there will be only two ways for you to obtain a cylinder:
      1. Purchase a ‘virgin,’ cylinder from someone who still has excess R-22 inventory in stock.
      2. Purchase ‘reclaimed’ R-22 refrigerant from a certified reclaimer. Reclaimed R-22 is refrigerant that was used previously and has since gone through a cleaning process so that it can be used again in a different machine.
  • What is the Alternative to R-22?
    • There are many alternative options to R-22. Some of these require you to retrofit your entire system in order to take the new refrigerant. While others, like DuPont’s MO99, require little action. I won’t get into too much detail here but I have written a couple articles on this topic which can be found by clicking below:
  • What Took R-22’s Place?
    • The HFC refrigerant known as R-410A was the selected R-22 replacement. As I write this article in 2018, R-410A is by far the fastest growing refrigerant market out there. While 410A does not harm the O-zone layer it does have a very high Global Warming Potential, or GWP. Because of this high GWP I do not see R-410A lasting more then ten or fifteen years. After that, a new, more climate friendly, alternative will appear in the marketplace.
  • If I Have An R-22 Unit Do I Need To Switch To An R-410A Machine?
    • You are not obligated to switch by any means. If you want to be more environmentally conscious, then by all means switch to a R-410A unit. If it was me I would hang onto my R-22 unit until something major breaks and you have a costly repair on your hands.
  • Should I Repair My R-22 Machine?
    • This is a tough decision. As the years go by and we get further and further away from 2010 the machines that are out there get older and older. So, if you repair your unit today and recharge with R-22 you could be facing the very same problem six months or a year down the road. Older machines tend to break more often and you could be upside down on your machine after only a couple of repairs. It may make sense to switch to a newer R-410A unit.
  • Can I Convert My R-22 Unit To Take R-410A?
    • No! R-410A, or Puron, operates at a MUCH higher pressure then R-22. If you were to put 410A into your existing R-22 system you could cause permanent damage.
  • Can I put R-22 Into My R-410A Machine?
    • No! Same thing goes. Your 410A machine is meant for just that, 410A. It is not meant for anything else.

Thanks for reading,

Alec Johnson

RefrigerantHQ

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