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Is R22 Still Available?

Is R22 Still Available?

On January 1, 2010, they approved a ban that began a gradual phase-out of the refrigerant R22. They slowly reduced the amount of R22 that could be brought into the United States as well as could be produced here. That timeline ended on January 1st, 2020 and now R22 can no longer be manufactured in the United States, now can we import it from other countries.

Does that mean that I will not be able to make repairs to my older R22 system?

It does not mean that. Not only are most of the parts in your older system not affected by the ban on the import or manufacture of R22 (we can get parts for 30-year-old equipment), but it is still R22 available. The vendors stocked up on R22 prior to the ban going into effect so there are still considerable amounts of R22 available with them. Contractors are also encouraged to recover the refrigerant from older systems. Many of the local parts houses are actually offering us money to sell old R22 back to them so that they can “reclaim” it and sell it back to us as new refrigerants.

Is reclaimed refrigerant as good as new or “virgin” refrigerant?

According to the EPA, it is. The reclaiming process is regulated to meet strict standards for resale. The companies doing the reclaiming must clean the refrigerant to a point that exceeds ARI-700 purity standards. This standard is the exact same standard that new refrigerant must meet before it can be sold. This process ensures that there are no remaining contaminants in the reclaimed refrigerant. According to one of the largest manufacturers of all refrigerants, there is no difference between virgin refrigerant and reclaimed refrigerant.

Is the cost of R22 going to skyrocket due to the bans?

This is a scenario the government actively tried to avoid. The concern over possible skyrocketing costs of R22 was the main reason behind the government-mandated gradual phaseout. The government and industry officials had learned from a similar switch of R12 to R22 in 1995. During that switch, the government did not do a phase-out and the price of R12 did shoot astronomically higher. The government learned from their mistakes and made this most recent phaseout gradual. So far it is working. We have not seen wide fluctuations in the cost of R22. To this point, we have not increased our pricing from two years ago due to the stable cost of the refrigerant. Having said that, no one can completely control the market, and pricing can swing dramatically and as it did during the beginning of the phase-out in 2013. We believe most of that was due to speculation of what was coming that didn’t end up turning into reality as the years progressed.

Ultimately you have to make a decision on whether the cost of the repair to your older R22 system vs. the replacement to a newer unit with the new R410a refrigerant is best for you. We always ask a customer to consider the age of the unit (15 years is a good life for a unit in the desert), the cost of the repair, and their long term goals for the property (are they going to keep it one year or 10 years).

Should I replace my R-22 refrigerant with an R22 replacement refrigerant such as R407c, MO99, NU 22, etc…?

This is a tough question and it is impossible to say yes or no. Here again, it depends on your particular circumstances. The factors you will have to take into account are

  • How long will I be in the home?
  • What is the cost of any repairs?
  • What is the cost of replacement?
  • If I am selling my home will a replacement system make it more valuable (For the record, it likely won’t)
  • What does the budget say? (Although it sucks to have to make decisions based off a fixed budget, most of us are working under one and sometimes the budget says spending thousands of dollars on a new system is not feasible)

Whatever your decision or your needs are, Legacy Air can help. For the near term, Legacy Air has R22 for sale at the same prices we were selling it for 2 years ago, so please call us if you need us

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