Everything You Need to Know About the Freon® Phaseout in California
If you landed on this page, you probably have questions about the Freon(R) phaseout. News in California can be tough to follow, and not every article is comprehensive. This page will answer all your questions about how the Freon(R) phaseout impacts Los Angeles homeowners.
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Freon® phaseout: Highlights for Los Angeles
Here are the major things you need to know about this change to air conditioning:
- R-22 refrigerant cannot be produced after January 1, 2020
- Air conditioners with R22 will require more repairs as they near the end of their useful life
- Because supply is officially limited, A/C repairs will get more expensive
The last time air conditioners were manufactured with R22 was in 2010. Air conditioners normally last between 10-15 years. Homeowners that have kept up with HVAC maintenance will be the ones with ACs on the high end of that lifespan.
Repairs are normal as equipment ages. A common repair our techs handle all the time is a refrigerant leak. This is normal and happens more frequently as equipment gets older. That’s because the refrigerant which operates under high pressure wears down the inside of the refrigerant pipes.
So, LA homeowners that have R22-equipment will not only be dealing with more repairs, they will be dealing with higher prices too.
How do I know if the Freon® phaseout affects me?
The Freon® phaseout affects you if your air conditioner contains R-22 refrigerant, commonly referred to as Freon®. It’s easy to find out what kind of refrigerant your air conditioner uses. The refrigerant type is printed on a label that is attached to your air conditioner.
So, go on! Take a leisurely walk outside in the Los Angeles sunshine. Say hello to your air conditioner – we bet you haven’t talked in a while! Identify the data label that’s on the edge of the unit. Look for the refrigerant type. It will usually begin with an R, like R22 or R410A. Snap a photo of that data label for your records.
And while you’re out there, here’s an efficiency tip: see if your outdoor unit is obstructed with any leaves, landscaping, or other debris. If so, that may be a contributor to your high energy bills.
If you discover that you have R22 refrigerant, then read on. This government-imposed phaseout is something you really want to pay attention to!
If you find you have another refrigerant type like R410A, you’re in the clear for now. Here’s one way to celebrate: share this information with family and friends!
Can I wait to replace my AC?
As a homeowner, you’re faced with many home improvement decisions. Some of them are very expensive! Replacing your air conditioner is a personal decision that only you can make.
However, you should know that prices for new air conditioners are currently very reasonable. Plus, there are lots of specials and rebates to take advantage of to make them even more affordable.
Waiting until you’re desperate to replace your system – like when your A/C breaks down for good – could put you in a bad situation. You’ll need to make a quick decision on a new air conditioner, and you’ll be subject to whatever the pricing is at that time. And the wait for technicians to install it may be longer than usual if you try to replace it during busy seasons, like the summer.
Allow Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning to take a look at your system and evaluate its current performance. We can help you determine when the best time is to replace. Call us now to schedule: (818) 348-4768.
Frequently Asked Questions about the Freon(R) Phase-Out
Homeowners all across Los Angeles have been reaching out to us with questions about the Freon® phaseout. Our goal is to inform you about the regulations and help you make the best decision for your home.
What is air conditioner refrigerant?
A/C refrigerant is a shape-shifting chemical. Air conditioner refrigerant has properties that make it very cold when it changes form from gas to liquid.
Shape-shifting chemicals are very common in our world. Here’s one you’re probably very familiar with: water! Or the chemical compound H2O. You can evaporate water by boiling it. You can condense water by cooling steam.
Engineers discovered that some chemical compounds get exceptionally chilly as a result of the phase change. And, these chemicals can stay cold even at very warm temperatures. Eureka! We can use this chemical to stay comfortable inside buildings!
Thus, came the invention of the air conditioning machine. These machines repeatedly evaporate and condense chemical compounds. In your home, the piece that evaporates is the cooling coil, located somewhere indoors. The component that condenses is the big hunk of metal outside your house.
Why does the type of AC refrigerant matter?
Every chemical has different properties. And machines are designed and tested to work with specific refrigerants, just like how a gasoline engine is different from a diesel engine.
So, when our technicians repair or service your air conditioner, it’s critical to know the type of refrigerant it uses.
Why is Freon® going away?
R22 refrigerant is commonly known by the term Freon. Although it is very effective at cooling air, it also is effective at destroying the ozone layer. So, the Environmental Protection Agency has put a phaseout plan in place as a safety measure to protect the planet.
What is significant about January 1, 2020?
As of 1/1/2020, R-22 cannot be produced or imported. The only Freon® that can be used for repairs is the refrigerant that already exists in the world. The only R22 refrigerant that can be used is:
- Stockpiled Freon – Many contractors and wholesalers have stocked up on R-22 refrigerant, having produced plenty of the chemical before January 1, 2020.
- Recycled Freon – When an R-22 unit is retired and uninstalled from a building, a certified contractor can remove the Freon and store it for future use.
Although there is a decent amount of stockpiled and recycled R-22 for now, that supply is officially limited as of January 1. Eventually, there will be no more R-22 refrigerant available for use.
What is the replacement for R22 Freon?
R410A is what is used by new air conditioners. You cannot use R410A in a machine that was built for R22. That would be like putting gas in a diesel engine!
The good news about R410 is that it doesn’t harm the ozone layer. And, this refrigerant is readily available to technicians in Los Angeles.
Can my AC work with R410A?
If you have a system built for R-22 refrigerant, it cannot operate with R-410A refrigerant.
Some LA contractors may suggest modifying your R-22 unit to work with R-410A. Sometimes this is called a retrofit or drop-in replacement. Here at Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning, we strongly oppose this approach.
Here are three reasons why:
- Modifying an air conditioner is a complex and difficult job. It requires a very high level of expertise to be done correctly. If the modification is not done right, you’ll be looking at loads of repairs and visits by technicians.
- R-22 units are nearing the end of their lifespan anyway. If you modify it, you’ll only get a few more years out of it. A retrofit is not worth the cost, hassle, or risk.
- Air conditioners are certified for safety with the original type of refrigerant. Dropping in a new refrigerant would void that safety certification.
A new system will be much more efficient, perform better, and provide better comfort for your family.
Why choose Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning?
Since 1963, Canoga Park Heating & Air Conditioning has served our neighbors across Los Angeles, California. We provide dependable and trustworthy service – just read our reviews.
You can count on us for:
- Knowledgeable, NATE-certified technicians
- On-time service
- Honest and informative communication
- High-quality air conditioning products
We serve the complete Los Angeles area, including Burbank, Calabasas, Northridge, Tarzan, Thousand Oaks, West Hills, and Woodland Hills.
Let us help you upgrade your old R22 unit to a modern, efficient air conditioner. Our team is based right here in the LA area, so we can swing by whenever you’re ready to talk. Call us: (818) 348-4768.