Posts Tagged ‘R-22’

EPA Warns Against Use of Substitute R-22 Refrigerants

2014 28-08

Due to the current costs and availability of R-22, substitute R-22 refrigerants have been introduced into the market. The substitute refrigerant with “R-22a” or “22a” in the name contains highly combustible hydrocarbons, such as propane. These refrigerants are being marketed to consumers as an alternate to the higher priced R-22 for recharging a system. The use of these substitute R-22 refrigerants can result in property damage and/or personal injury.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have joined in issuing additional warnings against the use of dangerous substitute refrigerants including R-22A, and are actively investigating the distribution, sale and use of these unapproved and potentially hazardous refrigerant substitutes. According to the EPA, many of these refrigerants contain highly flammable hydrocarbons such as propane.

Rheem air conditioning and heat pump units only support the use of the nameplate refrigerant in the equipment. The use of any other refrigerant will void the manufacturer’s warranty and could negatively affect the operation of the unit. For units designed to operate with R-22 refrigerant, they must be charged with R-22 refrigerant that meets AHRI 700-2012 purity standards per the unit installation instructions. To read more from the EPA (click here) For details on the FBI’s investigation for refrigerants (click here).

What You Need to Know About R-22

2012 22-03

While R-22 has been the refrigerant of choice for residential air-conditioning systems for more than four decades, the Clean Air Act, implemented by the Environmental Protection Agency, has set requirements to phase out the manufacturing of R-22 refrigerant by 2020.  What this means is the amount of R-22 that can be produced must be reduced by a predetermined percentage each year.  As production reduces each year, the cost of R-22 refrigerant will increase based on simple supply and demand – there will be less of it available to purchase. The Clean Air Act went into effect January 1st, 2010 and the industry is experiencing the mandated reduction of R-22 in accordance with the Montreal Protocol ruling (see chart). After 2020, the servicing of R-22 based systems will rely solely on reclaimed or recycled refrigerants only.

What does the R-22 phase-out mean to me as a homeowner?
Chemical manufacturers can continue to produce R-22 to service existing systems until January 1, 2020.  In addition, unless the EPA rules differently, manufacturers can continue to ship dry R-22 units (nitrogen charge only) for retrofit installations only. However, as the production of R-22 continues to decline each year, the cost of charging dry R-22 units and servicing existing R-22 systems will become increasingly more expensive.  

What if I need to replace a portion of my heating and cooling system?
If an existing outdoor unit needs to be replaced, it is recommended that the indoor unit be replaced (coil, furnace or air handler) at the same time. The reason is the system will then be properly matched based on the manufacturers approved system performance data. A system that is not properly matched will lose efficiency and be more expensive to operate and maintain.

If my current system is R-22, can I replace a portion of it with R-410A?
If you purchase an outdoor R-410A unit, you must replace the indoor coil with a properly matched R-410A model. R-22 and R-410A refrigerants cannot be mixed.

Should I purchase an R-410A system if I need a solution NOW?
If you have an existing R-22 unit in your home, you can legally purchase a dry R-22 unit but you will need to purchase the R-22 from your contractor to charge the unit.  Given the reduced availability and rising cost of R-22, the better option is to buy an R-410A system.  Simply put, an R-22 unit is pager while an R-410A unit is cell phone, the technology of today.  Make sure you contact your Rheem contractor to understand all of your air conditioning options. Click here to find a contractor near you.