Decline in Supply, Increase in Price: Phasing Out R-22

It’s mid-summer in the Carolinas and as always, that means the heat is on outside. This is the busiest season for air conditioners and air conditioner technicians alike, and if your unit that uses R-22 Freon breaks down, you unfortunately may be surprised at the repair cost.

Over the past couple of years, the question that we have received most often has been, “Why has the cost of the Freon for my unit gone up so much?” The good news is that the Environmental Protection Agency has taken steps to reduce greenhouse gases by phasing out R-22 Freon. The bad news is that the phasing out of R-22 has caused a low supply, resulting in prices to skyrocket and repair bills to reflect the higher prices.


R-22 Freon has been the refrigerant of choice for residential heat pump and air conditioning systems for the past 40 years. Over time, however, it was found that the manufacturing of R-22 results in a by-product that contributes to global warming. The EPA’s phasing out of R-22 began in 2010 when air conditioning manufacturers were banned from making units that use R-22 and the production of that Freon has been on the steady decline ever since. Production was reduced by 45% in 2012 and another 30% is slated to be cut this year. By 2015, production will have to be reduced by 90%, and in 2020, R-22 will be banned entirely.

So what does this mean for your unit that uses R-22? There are various factors that come into play. How old is your unit? Is there still a warranty on it? How much is the R-22 currently selling for, and how much would a new unit cost you? These are all important questions to be discussed with your McClintock Heating and Cooling technician. There’s not one answer for everyone, but the fact remains that the cost of R-22 will continue to rise and eventually, it will be gone for good.

What type of air conditioning unit do you have in your home? If you have an R-22 unit, do you plan on replacing it the next time it breaks?