If you have an air conditioner that runs on the refrigerant R22, you need to be worried. The R22 phase-out is coming to a close and this has a serious impact on anyone with air conditioners that still use this refrigerant. If you are one of these people, you need to know about the 3 hard realities of the phase-out that you could be facing in the not so distant future.
You Will Not Be Able To Get R22 After 2020
When you look at the harsh realities of the R22 phase out, you need to know more about the actual ban. The Montreal Protocol is the agreement which outlines the ban and phase out of R22. This was determined after it was found that the halocarbons in the coolant will contribute to ozone depletion. The phase-out was set to happen in 5-year intervals and the ones that affected the general public started in 2010.
The final phase will occur on 1 January 2020 when the sale, production, and import of R22 in the United States will be banned completely. This means that you will not be able to get any R22 after this date and that is only 2 years away. When the phase-out started in the 1980’s, most people assumed they had a lot of time but this is no longer the case.
The impact of not being able to get R22 is that your air conditioner will be useless after this date. You will need to either completely replace the unit or try to have it retrofitted. These are the only options because you will be unable to directly change your refrigerant.
This is due to the fact that air conditioners that use R22 are not compatible with other refrigerants. While it is possible for your unit to run for a while after the last phase comes into effect, there are other problems that you will face. The lower the refrigerant level gets, the more energy the unit will use and the less effective it will be. This will end up costs you more to run the unit and this is something that you will want to avoid.
The Costs Are Going To Increase
Another harsh reality of the phase-out is the fact that you will be hit with higher costs. This could be from higher R22 prices to retrofitting your air conditioner to having to replace it. All of these are costs that you might not have planned for and will have a hard time dealing with. However, it is important to understand how the phase-out has brought these costs and what can be done.
The cost of R22 will be out of the hands of the average consumer. This is due to the fact that it runs on the principle of supply and demand. As the demand for R22 outweighs the supply, those who have R22 will be able to increase the prices as much as they want. This is something that has already started to hit people as the supply of R22 is already dwindling. In the lead up to 2020, this will become worse and you could have a serious issue after 2020.
If you are going to be looking to buy R22 after 2020, you could have a serious issue. Most reputable sellers are not going to be selling the refrigerant because of the legal obligations they have. This means that you will be dealing with back alley sellers who are going to try and make as much as they can on the sale.
If you are thinking of getting away from R22 before 2020, you might consider retrofitting which ensures that your current air conditioner will be able to take other refrigerants. This is not a cheap thing to do and retrofitting will not always work. This is generally considered ideal for large companies that have massive air conditioning systems. These systems will generally be very expensive to replace and retrofitting is seen as the economical options.
These big systems will have parts that are large enough to be easily replaced to make provisions for new refrigerants. This is not always the case with a residential air conditioner. The home system that you have may be impossible for technicians to retrofit or retrofitting could cost too much. In many residential cases, it is better to simply buy a new air conditioner.
You Need To Buy A New Air Conditioner System
The last of the harsh realities of the R22 phase-out is the fact that you are going to have to buy a new air conditioner system. There is actually no way around this if you are looking at a residential unit. They do not have the flexibility needed for retrofitting and they cannot take other refrigerants directly.
The only way that you can limit the impact of this reality is to get a new air conditioner now. As R22 is still in use, you will not have to worry about any of the issues that contractors will have removing R22 units in the future. It is not fully clear what these issues might be, but you should avoid the risks.
Modern air conditioners work with alternative refrigerants and the most common is Bluon TdX 20 coolant. Getting a new air conditioner now will generally be cheaper and easier than waiting for the crunch period. If you wait until 2020 to do this, you could suffer from price increases due to the demand for new air conditioners.
Right now, air conditioners are at a stable price, but suppliers know that R22 is coming to an end and this could see in increase in demand. As the supply and demand chain will come into play, the suppliers will increase the price when the demand is high. You may also have a problem getting a reputable technician to install the system as they will also be very business. If you do get a new system, you might have to wait a while before it can be installed.