Your HVAC equipment isn’t something you upgrade frequently. Depending on when you purchased your house and how old the furnace and air conditioner were when you moved in, you may never have researched the best heating and cooling technology before now.
Yet technology is changing. And with it, some equipment is phasing out, may even be outlawed as we put new rules and guidelines into place.
Take R22 refrigerant as an example.
Hydrochlorofluorocarbons - HCFCs - are chemicals used in producing refrigerants. Over time, we’ve discovered that the first generations of these chemicals produced weren’t good for the environment.
R22 (sometimes known as HCFC22) is a refrigerant, and is often used in air conditioning equipment. After decades of use, scientists discovered that chlorine, which is a component of R22, has a damaging effect on the ozone layer as well as our health. As it’s released into the air, it has the ability to bind with other materials. As it maneuvers into the stratosphere, they are broken down and released back down to earth as highly reactive atoms. Ever heard the term acid rain? It stems from this process. Consistent exposure to this over long periods of time impacts our environment as well as our immune system, causing everything from eye irritation to cancers and more.
If you have an air conditioner currently operating inside your home, be aware that it is slowly being phased out.
When scientists started realizing the damage caused by R22 use, they put into production a phase-out timeline. The schedule is:
January 1, 2010 - Ban on production, import, and use of HCFC22 except for continuing servicing needs of existing equipment.
January 1, 2015 - Ban on production, import, and use of all HCFCs, except for continuing servicing needs of refrigeration equipment.
January 1, 2020 - Ban on remaining production and import of HCFCs. After 2020, the servicing of systems with F22 will rely on recycled or stockpiled quantities.
January 1, 2030 - Ban on remaining production and import of all HCFCs.
If you have old equipment, you may still find some technicians able to service it with stockpiled R22 refrigerant. That time is coming to an end.
If your old equipment is in need of repair, now may be the time to upgrade to new equipment. Not only will it be better for the environment, better for your health, but it will also keep you more comfortable and more efficient than what you have installed now.