Incidents of counterfeit R-22 are on the rise—with dangerous and costly results. Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning cares about our clients, and we want to ensure they have the best information available. Consider the following before buying or recharging an AC unit.
Learning About R-22
R-22 is the refrigerant inside many air conditioning units; the refrigerant is composed of liquids and gases with cooling properties. The refrigerant has a negative impact on the ozone layer when emitted from cooling units. As a result, the government mandated that production must slow down and come to a halt by 2020. Recycled R-22 will remain legal after the cutoff. However, timeframe of the completed phase-out will depend on contractors turning in the refrigerant for recycling, making it difficult to determine how much will be available.
Decreased availability of R-22 caused its price to soar. In 1998, a pound of R-22 cost about $10, but by 2013, the same amount cost approximately $50—and prices have continued to climb. Lower availability and higher costs led to a growing counterfeit industry, which presents serious risks.
Understanding The Dangers Of Counterfeit R-22
Counterfeit R-22 usually contains combinations of hydrocarbons that make it flammable. Fake versions of the approved alternative R410 (M099 and R438A) are flooding the market. Exporters, most often China-based producers, are importing both of these substances illegally.
It’s important for all American distributors and contractors to buy only from trusted sources and to quality-check these products. We encourage all homeowners to use reputable sellers to avoid potential hazards.
In the short term, counterfeit refrigerants are costly to use because they’re frequently less effective than their legitimate counterparts. Our experience is that users must run cooling units more often to maintain a reasonable temperature, increasing energy bills. In the long term, counterfeit R-22 can cause severe damage; the flammable substances may ignite, leading to fire or explosion, which can cause injury or loss of life.
Producers typically incorrectly label much of the counterfeit R-22 as nonflammable, and some counterfeits even bear knock-off name-brand labels. However, propane and isobutene are often primary ingredients in these substances, making them incredibly dangerous.
Use Trusted Sources Of HVAC Refrigerants
Always use reputable sources for refrigerant in your air-conditioning units. We at Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning pride ourselves on using only the best products from trusted sources. If you live in the Greater Los Angeles area, call us today if you need a new air conditioner or want to recharge an older unit. We use only the best refrigerants for all our clients.