Determine If It Is Time to Upgrade

When deciding if it is time to upgrade or purchase new equipment, consumers need to consider several key factors, such as energy efficiency, performance, reliability, cost and replacement alternatives available. After 2020, the servicing of R-22 systems will rely on recycled or stockpiled refrigerants. For the next 10-15 years, R-22 should continue to be available for all systems that require it for servicing; however supplies will decrease.

The single most important thing you can do to reduce the potential need to have your system’s refrigerant serviced is to have proper, regular maintenance for your system done by a qualified contractor. Routine servicing minimizes potential environmental hazards and keeps maintenance costs low. Look for an HVAC contractor who employs technicians certified by North American Technician Excellence (NATE). A system that is not installed or maintained properly will result in reduced efficiency and deliver less comfort.

Always request that service technicians repair leaks instead of “topping off” leaking equipment, regardless of the system size. This saves you money by optimizing the performance of your system.

Remember, it is illegal to intentionally release refrigerant substitutes when making repairs to your equipment. Technicians must always avoid release of refrigerant when servicing of your unit.

No-Venting Rule Exceptions
While it is illegal to knowingly vent ozone-depleting refrigerants like CFCs and HCFCs, Section 608 of the Clean Air Act does grant a few exceptions.
  • De minimis venting, which is probably the most well-known exception, simply means that refrigerant released in small amounts during a “good faith” effort to recover, recycle or dispose of the refrigerant is not illegal.
  • Refrigerant emitted during the normal operation of HVACR equipment is not illegal, but EPA does require the repair of all substantial leaks.
  • Mixtures of nitrogen and R-22 that are used as holding charges or as leak test gases.
  • Small releases of refrigerant that result from purging hoses or from disconnecting hoses after charging or servicing equipment.