Will Your Heat Pump or Air Conditioner Be Affected by Changes in Freon Laws?

Much confusion has surrounded the use of Freon for a number of years. Environmental concerns have brought about new laws, and hence new developments in condensers. Due to the widespread use of Freon in varying capacities, these changes are being integrated gradually. This began in the early 1990s, and extends into 2020.

As a condenser is a key component in air conditioners and heating pumps, these changes affect many households. Someone wishing to install a new unit, or to service an old one, benefits from knowing how these changes will affect it

What does Freon do?

Freon is a refrigerant used in a condenser. The condenser compresses the Freon into a hot gas, and then condenses it into a liquid. A heat pump uses this for heat, whereas an air conditioner uses additional components to rapidly cool it and thus provide cool air.

Types of Freon

The laws are not saying that Freon will no longer be used. They are addressing the type of Freon to be used. 2010 marked the beginning of the phasing out of a type of Freon called R-22. This is being replaced by the more environmentally friendly R-410A, also called “Puron”. This means that manufacturers can no longer legally manufacture units that use R-22, so the new units are made to use R-410A.

Although this is the case, since such a wide number of already-installed heating and air conditioning units use R-22, it will continue to be manufactured and to be recycled in order to service these units, until the year 2020. At this time, R-22 will stop being manufactured.

How this affects consumers

Someone who is purchasing a new unit, whether it be an air conditioner or a heat pump, will want to be sure that it uses the R-410A type of Freon. Though the new units must meet the new criteria, there is always the possibility that you could be buying an item that was in stock, and was manufactured prior to these regulations taking effect.

Someone with an existing unit that needs recharging will be basically unaffected by these changes until the year 2020,except for paying higher prices as the supply becomes depleted. Though these units will continue to be legal to use for an indefinite amount of time, servicing them will be the issue after that time. There is potential that a substitute will be available for R-22, so it may be possible to continue to use the unit for the length of its natural life. Check with a knowledgeable service technician if this is ever an issue.