Can I Still Use Freon in My Air Conditioner?
Leading up to 2020, it felt as if all anyone in the HVAC industry could talk about was the so-called “Freon ban.” Now that it’s here, and the world is still turning, it seems like a great time to lay out what the change in Freon regulations mean for customers. Keep reading to learn if you can still use Freon in your air conditioner, and make sure to call our HVAC pros at Roby Services for all your other AC needs.
Facts About the 2020 Freon Ban
Effective January 1st, it became illegal to import or manufacture the refrigerant R-22, more commonly known as Freon, in the United States. However, despite the recent trend of treating the substance like gold, there are actually a lot of misconceptions surrounding what air conditioning users can and can’t do with Freon.
For starters, it’s incorrect that Freon only recently came under attack. In reality, the Environmental Protraction Agency has been trying to get rid of the refrigerant since the 1980s. Freon is classified as an ozone-depleting substance under the Clean Air Act, i.e. using it is bad for the environment. Around 2010, amid mounting concerns surrounding climate change, the EPA finally started to intensify its efforts to get consumers to stop using Freon. The government administration began an official phaseout of the substance in 2015, culminating in the ban that went into effect on January 1st of this year.
However, while importing and manufacturing Freon may no longer be legal in the U.S., it is important to note that the sale and use of Freon is still legal. Rather than causing too big of an uproar by completely getting rid of the substance altogether, the EPA’s phaseout was designed to slowly incentivize homeowners and the HVAC industry at large to become less reliant on Freon. The ultimate goal was to make sure that by the time the ban was in place, Freon supplies would be as low as possible, encouraging AC users to make the switch to non-Freon based systems sooner rather than later.
Bottom line: you’re not going to get arrested for turning on your AC unit, even if it runs on Freon. However, it is worth thinking about…
When to Switch to a New AC System
If you’ve already switched to a non-Freon-based AC system, congratulations, this blog is no longer relevant to you! If you are still using an AC system that runs on R-22, you have a few options. The first is to just keep using that system until U.S. Freon stores are completely depleted, and you have no choice but to make the switch. The second solution is to retrofit your current Freon-based AC system, so it runs on another type of coolant. Your third and final choice would be to upgrade to a new AC unit now.
As you may have already guessed, our AC technicians at Roby Services would recommend this last option. Putting off the inevitable will just force you to waste money as your old AC system becomes less and less efficient, and retrofitting your system is only likely to get you a few more years out of it. Fortunately, Roby Services offers comprehensive AC installation and maintenance, so you can get a top-of-the-line, energy-efficient air conditioner that our technicians will help you keep in great condition for years to come! Call today for available specials and promotions, and let Roby Services give you the AC system you deserve.