The phase out of R-22 coolant (Freon) or Refrigerant 22, why it’s important and what you need to know.
The biggest challenge homeowners and HVAC contractors face today is the federally mandated phase-out of Refrigerant 22. Twenty years ago, R-22 could be purchased for around a dollar a pound; but today, through the law of supply and demand, the price per lb. has risen over 700%. Ouch! The rationale for this federal marketplace control is the depletion of the ozone layer. Politics aside, this makes for an unfortunate conversation should your system develop a refrigerant leak.
To be more specific, the phase out of R-22 manufacture began around 25 years ago; and finally, beginning January, 2020. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will completely cut off the manufacture of this refrigerant. Although 'drop in' replacement refrigerants have been introduced into the marketplace from time to time, none have taken root as the chemical characteristics don't allow the low temperatures and pressures of R-22.
Bottom line, if the air conditioning system in your home was manufactured prior to 2010, sooner or later you're going to be negatively affected. Simply put, taking into account the incredibly high costs of refrigerant 22 repairs, you'll need to consider premature replacement of your AC system should you develop a leak. The R410-a refrigerants used today are a fraction of the cost of r-22 (back to supply and demand economics) and when faced with an expensive repair in a leaking system it may be time to upgrade.