Melissa is a mother of 2, lives in Utah, and writes for a multitude of sites. She is currently the EIC of HarcourtHealth.com and writes about health, wellness, and business topics.

The time has come for you to seriously think about replacing your old R22 refrigerant. This is the refrigerant that is found in most air conditioners, particularly if they are older units. If you feel that your air conditioner is not due for a refrigerant replacement, there are a number of other reasons why you should be looking at getting rid of R22 right now.

You Will Help The Environment

R22 is an HCFC which were created as an alternative to CFCs after it was found that they harm the environment. However, after further testing in the 1970’s, it was found that these compounds are just as harmful to the environment. When these compounds are exposed to the air, they will travel through the atmosphere until they reach the ozone layer.

When an HCFC reaches the ozone layer, it causes a chemical reaction. This reaction will turn ozone into oxygen. While you might think that this is not a problem because oxygen is needed for life on Earth, the conversion depletes the ozone layer. The ozone layer is a requirement for the planet because it stops harmful UV rays from getting from the sun to us.

When you stop using R22, you will reduce the chances of it harming the environment. While the refrigerant is inside of your AC unit, it will not cause direct damage to the environment. However, if your unit has a leak or something goes wrong, the refrigerant can be released and enter the atmosphere.

R22 Is Almost Gone

One of the primary reasons why you should look at replacing your R22 with a different refrigerant is the fact that it is all gone. In 1987, World Leaders got together in Montreal to decide on the phasing out of R22 or Freon. This decision was based on the environmental damage that the refrigerant was capable of.

The phase-out was set to take in stages with the final stage coming to an end in December 2019. This final phase will see the production of R22 completely end. After this date, R22 will no longer be legally imported into the country and all supplies will be stockpiles. Production in the country has already ended and was no longer in AC systems made after 2010.

The fact that the stock of R22 is already dwindling is one of the reasons why you need to change new. With the supply running low, you will have a harder time replacing the refrigerant in your unit when you need to.

You Will Save Money

As R22 is almost completely phased out, your pocket is going to be hit soon if you do not replace the refrigerant that you have. The limited supply of R22 increases the price based on the principle of supply and demand. You might already have noticed an increase in the price of the refrigerant the last time you needed to top up your system.

However, it is not only the cost of R22 which will impact your bank account. When you replace your refrigerant now, you will miss the rush. When the phase-out is complete, there are going to be more people trying to replace their systems and refrigerants which will increase the costs.

Getting a new AC system now which runs on a newer refrigerant will be cheaper than in a few years when everyone needs to have one. While the idea of a large investment right now might not seem like a saving, you need to consider the long-term benefits. A newer system will not only save you from increased R22 prices, they are also more energy efficient than older refrigerants. This energy efficiency will save you money on your utility bills. When you have an energy efficient AC unit, you can save hundreds each year. After all, the temperature control systems of your home will be the primary energy users.

Your AC Unit Cannot Work With Other Refrigerants

A lot of people assume that when they can no longer get R22, they will be able to use a different refrigerant. This is not actually the case as most AC units will not be able to run with other refrigerants. This is due to the fact that the chemical makeup of the refrigerants is different and will react to the system in different ways. So far, there is only one true replacement refrigerant that you can use which is TdX 20.

If you were to use any other refrigerant in an R22 compatible system, you will cause damage. This damage can result in voiding your warranty if it is still in effect. There are other solutions that you can try such as retrofitting your system, but this also carries the danger of voiding your warranty.

A Loss In System Capacity

When you retrofit your AC system, you are going to suffer from a loss in system capacity. This means that your unit will not work as well as it did. This has a knock on effect causing an increase in utility bills and increased wear on the system. This is due to the fact that your AC unit will need to run for longer to keep your home cool.

The loss in capacity will vary depending on your system and the replacement that you are using. Some systems can see a loss of up to 12% while others will only have a loss of 5%. While this might not seem like much, it is something that you will be able you avoid completely by getting rid of R22 right now.

If you want to completely avoid any loss in capacity when you need your AC the most, you should change the system now. Getting a new condenser unit will ensure that your system runs correctly and on a more environmentally friendly refrigerant.

R22 was the most common refrigerant used in air conditioning systems and is part of systems from 2010 and before. If you have an older AC unit, you need to get rid of the R22 now. There are many reasons why you should do this from the environmental impact of the refrigerant to the phase-out that is soon coming to an end.