Are there really lower cost alternative refrigerants available for Air Conditioning Systems using R22?
Unfortfunately, the cost of R22 refrigerant continues to increase, but become educated and don’t be fooled if someone tries to sell you 22a as a lower cost alternative to HCFC-22 (R-22) for recharging your home air-conditioning system.
Recently some chemical manufactures have created a "replacement" for R22, by using a mixture of refrigerants, and propane to create an alternative to R22. But can be dangerous to use propane in residential HVAC applications. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says that using a propane-based refrigerant in an air conditioner that is not designed to use propane or flammable refrigerants poses a threat to homeowners as well as HVAC service techs, and contractors. An unapproved alternative called “22a” that contains propane can catch fire or explode, resulting in injury and property damage, the EPA said. Currently the EPA said that they are investigating cases where propane-based refrigerants have been illegally marketed and used as substitutes for HCFC-22 (R-22).
“Using an unapproved, flammable refrigerant in a system that wasn’t designed to address flammability can lead to serious consequences, including explosion or injury in the worst cases,” said Janet McCabe, acting assistant administrator for EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation. “As the summer cooling season gets started, we want to make sure consumers and equipment owners know what is going into their system is safe.”
A number of refrigerants with “22a” or “R-22a” in the name contain highly flammable hydrocarbons, such as propane, and are being marketed to consumers and contractors seeking to recharge existing HVAC systems that were not designed to use propane or other flammable refrigerants. As a result, EPA recently proposed that 22a and other highly flammable refrigerants are unacceptable for use in existing central air conditioning systems because they pose significantly more risk to public health or the environment than acceptable substitutes.
For more information about R-22a and acceptable refrigerants for air conditioning, visitwww.epa.gov/snap/questions-and-answers-about-r-22a-safety.
For more information on the most recent rules, visit www.epa.gov/snap/snap-regulations.
Contact Comfort Keepers HVAC today to discuss repair or replacement options if you are continually needed to have R22 added into your current HVAC system.