Ban of R22 Refrigerant Gas
What You Should Know about Refrigerants When Purchasing or Repairing a Residential A/C System or Heat Pump
Background: Ban on Production and Imports of Ozone-Depleting Refrigerants
In 1987 the Montreal Protocol, an international environmental agreement, established requirements that began the worldwide phaseout of ozone-depleting CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons). These requirements were later modified, leading to the phaseout in 1996 of CFC production in all developed nations. In 1992 the Montreal Protocol was amended to establish a schedule for the phaseout of HCFCs (hydrochlorofluorocarbons). HCFCs are less damaging to the ozone layer than CFCs, but still contain ozone-destroying chlorine. The Montreal Protocol as amended is carried out in the U.S. throughTitle VI of the Clean Air Act, which is implemented by EPA.
HCFC-22 (also known as R-22) has been the refrigerant of choice for residential heat pump and air-conditioning systems for more than four decades. Unfortunately for the environment, releases of R-22, such as those from leaks, contribute to ozone depletion. In addition, R-22 is a greenhouse gas and the manufacture of R-22 results in a by-product (HFC-23) that contributes significantly to global warming. As the manufacture of R-22 is phased out over the coming years as part of the agreement to end production of HCFCs, manufacturers of residential air conditioning systems are offering equipment that uses ozone-friendly refrigerants. Many homeowners may be misinformed about how much longer R-22 will be available to service their central A/C systems and heat pumps. This fact sheet provides information about the transition away from R-22, the future availability of R-22, and the new refrigerants that are replacing R-22. This document also assists consumers in deciding what to consider when purchasing a new A/C system or heat pump, or when having an existing system repaired.
More information on Energy Star and energy-efficient air conditioning can be found through the following links:
- Information on EPA’s Energy Star program for heating and cooling equipment
- Energy Star Guide to Energy Efficient Heating and Cooling (PDF, 24 pp, 1,419 KB)
- Home Improvement Energy Yardstick with Energy Star
- Information from the Department of Energy on energy-efficient air conditioning
- Energy Solutions for Heating and Cooling your Home
United States Environmental Protection Agency – http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phaseout/22phaseout.html
For more information on A/C system repair or replacement, please contact us.