R-22 (Freon) Will Only Be Around for Another 5 Years

R-22, better known as Freon, has historically been the most commonly used refrigerant in air conditioning systems. However, as a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) compound, it contains chlorine, which is known to contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. For that reason, the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty created to protect the ozone layer, mandates that R-22 and other HCFCs are completely phased out of production.

In cooperation with the Montreal Protocol and as required by the Clean Air Act, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented regulations regarding R-22. The EPA mandated that the manufacture of R-22-based air conditioning systems was halted by 2010 and that R-22 itself is not produced after 2020.

In 2015, that means any cooling systems that relied on Freon can’t be replaced when they break down. Instead, all-new cooling systems must be purchased and installed. In many cases, this will mean retrofitting new components like air ducts, too, because system performance and requirements vary depending on the type of refrigerant being used.

According to the experts at Lennox, R-410A is the chlorine-free “refrigerant of the future.”

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