Refrigerant laws probably aren’t the highest on your list when it comes to the legislation you follow every year, but they really should be!
From regulating refrigerant licensing to phasing out an old type of refrigerant and making way for a new type … these HVAC laws really are relevant to you, the consumer!
Don’t worry, the new refrigerant laws don’t mean that if you have R22 refrigerant in your system, you’re going to be arrested, or anything like that!
Instead, when we mention “refrigerant laws,” we mean that R22 refrigerant is being phased out. Why?
Well, as early as the 1970s, the Environmental Protection Agency knew that R22 was just as bad for the environment as the toxic material it replaced, HCFC.
R22 is in no way dangerous for you or bad to breathe, as long as your exposure to it is limited. But we are complying with government agencies as they get rid of R22 because, even though it’s not bad for you, it’s bad for the sky’s ozone layer.
So, what’s next?
R-410A is a far safer refrigerant option. If you want to know a bit about the nitty-gritty science, older refrigerants use bromine or chlorine, while R-410A only has fluorine, and that’s why it doesn’t eat away at the ozone! It also reduces the power consumption of your unit, which means that if you have a high-efficiency, high-SEER-rating system, then you’re going to need to use R-410A refrigerant. And you’ll also be saving energy and money in the process!
But you may be wondering, “Hey, wait a minute! I have R22 in my system right now!”
Even though you can’t use R22 in maintenance and repairs anymore (unless it’s expensively purchased in after-market sales), your system can be changed from an R22 system to an R-410A system.
This isn’t something you can do yourself, though! You have to be able to replace the condenser, evaporator, and compressor with versions that can run with R-410A. You may even need to replace the unit’s copper lines if they won’t be able to handle the higher power and pressure of R-410A, but that’s not true in every case.
What is true in every case is that you need to hire a professional to switch your system over, or to replace your R22 system entirely.
And in fact, it’s actually illegal for a person to buy refrigerant if they’re not certified. Or at least it will be if the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act of 2019 is passed through Congress and by the president. If it passes, refrigerants will be considered highly regulated substances, not something to be owned by the general public.
So HVAC laws are very important to know in a case like that!