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As of January 1st, 2020, it’s officially illegal to produce or import R-22 into the United States. This rule was put into effect by the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that controls the elimination of ozone-depleting substances. Several other hydrofluorochlorocarbons (HCFCs) have also been removed from the market, including R134a and R123.

What is R-22?

R-22, also known as “Freon”, is one of many HCFC refrigerants. These refrigerants have been used in HVAC systems like commercial air conditioners, retail food refrigeration, and cold storage for years. Now, they’re on their way out of the market. These refrigerants deplete the ozone layer. Facility managers and building owners should look for better alternatives to stay compliant.

What Does This Mean For Older HVAC Systems?

If you have an older HVAC system, it’s probably using R-22. Don’t worry – just because your system uses this refrigerant doesn’t mean you need an immediate replacement. However, if your system is experiencing leaks and other issues, it might be a good time to replace or retrofit it.

It’s best for building owners to be ahead of the new changes to ensure that their systems meet regulatory requirements. Although retrofitting existing equipment might sometimes be a hassle, it’s worth upgrading your systems. In a situation like this, it’s always better to be safe than sorry!

What is the Alternative to HCFCs?

In response to this phase-out, manufacturers have developed new refrigerants and modified existing ones. Mainstream mainly utilizes R410a when changing over coils. R410a is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), so no ozone depletion, but it has a fairly high Global Warming Potential (GWP). R410a will eventually be phased out and replaced with some of the more exotic refrigerants such as high-pressure CO2, propane, and R1234ze/R1234ze(Z).

How Can Mainstream Help?

If you have an existing unit that is changing refrigerants – whether it be a condenser or an evaporator coil, we can make you a new coil that will fit perfectly. R410a are almost twice R-22, so that’s a very good reason to change coils when upgrading the system. We guarantee that our coil will work with the new refrigerant and be safe for higher pressure. Mainstream will show guaranteed performance to spec.

Looking to replace your HVAC system? Contact the Mainstream experts today.