There’s been a lot of information floating around lately about the so-called “Freon ban” that’s set to go into effect in 2020. If you follow the HVAC industry even slightly, this news has been impossible to avoid. A refrigerant which for many years was an industry standard in air conditioning equipment, the EPA has found that Freon contributes significantly to the rise of greenhouse gasses, including HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons,) which are extremely toxic to the ozone layer. Because of this, they have barred the manufacturing or importing of Freon, known technically as “R-22,” starting in 2020. However, while many seem to understand the basics of the EPA’s proposed regulations, there are still a lot of misconceptions regarding the specifics. Keep reading to learn what you need to know about the 2020 Freon ban, and contact our Grimes HVAC experts at Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling for all your air conditioning needs.
R‑22 Regulations: True & False
Perhaps the most significant misconception surrounding the EPA’s decision to eliminate the production of Freon is that it is something new. The government agency first found that R-22 was bad for the environment all the way back in 1987. Since then, the EPA has been making steps to reduce the availability of Freon in the United States, with efforts kicking up speed in 2004. Beginning in 2010, new regulations banned HVAC systems from using the coolant altogether, with the official phaseout going into effect in 2015. January 1st of next year remains the target date for complete stoppage of all Freon manufacturing and importing.
However, while R-22 will no longer be manufactured or imported in the U.S. starting next year, that does not mean it will be completely unavailable. While scare tactics may have you believe that it will become illegal to use or purchase Freon as of January 1st, this is not accurate. It will still be legal to use and purchase Freon in 202— the supply will simply be reduced. Ultimately, the main goal of the EPA Freon ban is not to suddenly block homeowners from using their air conditioners, but to incentivize them to switch to environmentally safe equipment sooner rather than later.
What Does This Mean for Me?
If your AC unit does not use Freon, congratulations, you will be fine and don’t have to worry about the EPA ban. If you are still using a system that runs on Freon, you have 2 options. The first is to upgrade your current system, retrofitting it so it will be able to run on a coolant source other than Freon. This can be very expensive, however, especially if you are already using an older system, which is why most HVAC professionals are recommending the second option—installing a new, energy-efficient AC unit.
Fortunately, Golden Rule Plumbing, Heating & Cooling provides AC installation and replacement for a range of energy-efficient equipment. Rather that repairing an old air conditioner over and over again, it’s easy to make a cost-effective AC switch with our Grimes heating and cooling techs. Contact our skilled HVAC team to replace your Freon-based system with a modern, top-of-the-line AC unit designed to work better and last longer.