There is a danger lurking in air conditioning units not only in the DC area, but across the country. Fortunately, measures are in place to phase out this danger. HCFC-22, also known as R-22, is a refrigerant that contains ozone-destroying chlorine. Unfortunately, R-22 has been a common refrigerant for Maryland heating and cooling systems (and systems throughout the U.S.) for several decades, and the release of this substance contributes to ozone depletion. In 1992 a schedule for the phase-out of HCFCs like R-22 was established.

As the EPA states, HCFC-22 is also a greenhouse gas, and manufacturing the substance produces a by-product that greatly contributes to global warming. While there is a large number of homeowners who have air conditioning in Maryland and surrounding areas that still use R-22, there are alternatives that are ozone-friendly. Since the phase-out schedule is in order, you’ll need to know how much longer the refrigerant R-22 will be available to service your A/C unit and what the alternatives are. If you are planning on purchasing a new unit in the near future, you will need to consider many factors in regards to the usage of R-22.

As of January 1, 2010, HVAC system manufacturers were no longer allowed to produce AC units and heat pumps that contained R-22. By January 1, 2015, The United States will lower its consumption of HCFCs in general by 90% below the U.S. baseline.

By January 1, 2020, The U.S. is required to reduce its consumption of HCGCs by 99.5% below the U.S. baseline. In addition, while recovered and recycled R-22 will be allowed to be used for servicing existing units, no new R-22 will be allowed to be produced.

The Clean Air Act does not allow refrigerant to be vented into the air during the servicing of air conditioning units. It has to be collected and recycled, reclaimed or destroyed. What does this mean for you? Although there’s no need for a panic over immediately replacing your unit, as R-22 will be available for roughly the next decade, you should keep this in mind when you are considering purchasing a new unit and purchase one that does not use R-22 but instead relies on one of the more environmentally-friendly alternatives.

At the same token, if you will be having your system serviced or repaired, be sure that you call on reputable air conditioning repair in Fairfax VA that employs service technicians who are EPA-certified and know the proper, legal way to handle refrigerants.

Contact Magnolia for all of your heating and cooling needs; we proudly serve Virginia, Maryland, Washington D.C. and surrounding areas.

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