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Soon-to-be discontinued AC refrigerant may mean sky rocketing prices

Air Conditioning
Posted at 3:20 PM, Jul 19, 2019
and last updated 2019-07-22 21:48:15-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Residential and commercial air conditioning units could be using a refrigerant that will soon stop production.

Beginning Jan. 1, 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency will no longer allow the production of R-22, better known as "freon."

"It has a chlorine in it and that is harmful to the ozone layer," Mike Evans, field supervisor for Neal Harris Service Experts, said.

Evans said the phase out of R22 began around 2010. R410A is the newer refrigerant. Evans said it's more environmentally friendly, but can't be used in older systems that take R22.

Older systems that use R22, which has been around for decades, Evans said could be on their last leg.

"You have an older system, the average life-span is about 10-15 years, so you have a system that's maybe nearing the end of its life anyways so you don't want to be caught off guard by having it just fail," Evans said.

If you make the switch to a new system, Evans said it could cost you more than $10,000. Currently, Evans said at Neal Harris Service Experts, R22 is running at about $200 per pound.

As the supply of R22 continues to fall, Evans said he expects the price to rise.

"We've known for years that R22 would be phased out sometime and that it would get more expensive and it has," Evans said.

To prevent future problems with your air conditioning unit, Evans said maintenance is key. You should have a professional check out your system at least twice a year, once for cooling and once for heating. Also, keeping the air filters clean can help extend the life of your unit.