Watch Out for Dangerous Off-Market A/C Refrigerants

If your air conditioner needs a recharge and takes a coolant called R-22, make sure you’re getting the correct refrigerant for your machine. That’s because if you’re not careful, you could be purchasing a dangerous off-market refrigerant that can pose a fire or even explosion risk to your home.

The Story of R-22

R-22 was once the standard refrigerant that air conditioners ran on. But in 2010 the air conditioner industry stopped manufacturing A/Cs that ran on R-22 because the refrigerant was damaging the earth’s atmosphere. The industry has also begun to phase out the production of R-22, and will stop producing it all together in 2020.

Because there’s less R-22, it has become an expensive and sometimes hard to acquire coolant. In response to this problem, a black market has sprung up for the purchase of R-22. These off-market R-22 based coolants, however, are not approved by a regulatory agency and can pose a serious risk to the AC technicians and homeowners who use them.

EPA Issues R-22 Alternative Warning

The EPA has issued a warning cautioning homeowners and those in the HVAC industry about R-22 alternatives, such as 22a or R-22a.  These coolants contain highly flammable hydrocarbons, including propane. Original R-22 used in air conditioners did not contain propane.

What You Need to Worry About

This recent warning over R-22 alternatives highlights two important issues for our Gagne customers in the Alpharetta area:

  1. If your air conditioner was made before 2010, it may run on R-22, which means that if your A/C needs a recharge, it will become increasingly pricier for this repair as the years progress. You may want to consider starting to save for an A/C replacement. If you’re ready to shop for a replacement A/C, talk to our technicians about newer, more efficient models on the market.
  2. As a consumer, you should know that an HVAC technician with a professional ethic would never use any off-market refrigerants in your air conditioner.  That’s why it’s so important for you as a consumer to choose an HVAC technician you can trust. At Gagne Heating and Air, our technicians carry NATE certification, which shows their commitment to the highest industry standards of the HVAC industry.

If your A/C has sprung a leak or needs a recharge, the phasing out of R-22 can make this repair a little more complicated than it used to be. At Gagne Heating and Air, though, we’re committed to providing you with the professional service all consumers deserve despite any challenges.

Call our Alpharetta office today for maintenance, repairs, and sales. And continue reading on our Knowledge Center and blog to learn more about your air conditioner.