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Understanding the Price of R22 and Why it’s So High

Price of R22

Oliver has provided air conditioning services to homeowners throughout the Delaware Valley for more than 50 years, and those services include charging the refrigerant in air conditioners and heat pumps. Homeowners with older systems require R22, and they’re often shocked at the price of this material. With that in mind, let’s explore understanding the price of R22 and why it’s so high.

What Is R22?

R22 or R-22 is a colorless gas that goes by a number of different names, including chlorodifluoromethane, HCFC-22, and Freon. It was introduced in the 1950s and has since been used throughout the world as both a refrigerant and propellant. However, the U.S., EU, and a number of other countries agreed to phase out the use of R22 through an international treaty known as the Montreal Protocol.

Why Phase Out R22?

R22 is a greenhouse gas. It depletes the ozone layer and contributes to global warming. Air conditioning is prevalent throughout the world, and scientists have recognized it as a significant contributor to global warming. The U.S. agreed to the Montreal Protocol in 1987. It went into effect in 1989. The U.S. passed the Clean Air Act in 1990, and that law limited production and use of R22 and other substances that were harmful to the environment. This was not an immediate change, however. In fact, the full ban on the production and import of R22 did not go into effect until January 1, 2010. That said, many if not most AC manufacturers in the U.S. stopped making R22-based systems by 2005.

The Price of R22

Understanding the price of R22 and why it’s so high comes down to supply and demand. R22 can no longer be imported into the U.S. or manufactured here except for some rare exceptions that have nothing to do with the HVAC industry. In other words, the available supply is all we have and will ever have, and as that supply decreases, the price increases and will continue to do so.

Moving Forward: R410A

R410A is an alternative to R22 and is now the primary refrigerant used in the U.S. It’s better for the environment because it’s made up of HFCs that don’t deplete the ozone layer. R410A is also better from a consumer perspective as the EPA doesn’t regulate the manufacturing of it. Therefore, it’s an abundant resource, and the price is much lower than R22.

Oliver Is Here to Help

If you need any additional assistance understanding the price of R22 and why it’s so high, Oliver is happy to provide it. If you have an air conditioner or heat pump that uses R22, then you’re likely at the point where you should replace it, which will save you money in the long term, and the team at Oliver can assist you with that as well. Call us or contact us online today.

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