The Problem With R-22 Freon

In an effort to curb the use of greenhouse gases, the congress passed legislation phasing out the use of Freon R-22.  The industry had a choice of acceptable gases and eventually chose R-410a as an environmentally friendly alternative.  Production of R-22 condensers was to have ceased in 2005 with the manufacture of R-22 gas.

Manufacturers, some happily, some reluctantly, discovered a loophole in the law and bagan producing R-22 condensers in 2010.  They circumvented the legislation by not shipping these new units with R-22.  Instead, they put a holding charge of Nitrogen in the machines which is purged during installation and re-charged with R-22 by the installer.

To combat this practice, in the winter of 2012 the EPA notified chemical manufacturers that the production of R-22 was likely to be further reduced by 45% by the end of 2012.  This notification caused manufacturers to increase R-22 prices which caused a run on available stock by wholesalers and air conditioning dealers.  Since the original EPA notification, the cost of R-22 at wholesale has risen from $5.50 a pound to $13.00.

With labor, overhead and profit added, the cost of R-22 at retail now ranges from $40 to $60 a pound.  At an average of 3 lbs. of refrigerant per ton the average system will require $400 - $600 worth of freon at installation.

Surgi's feels that the continued sale of R-22 condensers is not in the best interest of our customers or the environment.  The continued use R-22 in the residential marketplace is financially harmful to consumers in the long run. 

The overall cost of operating, maintaining and repairing an R-22 condenser over the life of the system may run 50-80% more than a comparable R-410a system.  So, don't let an air conditioning dealer convince you to continue to use R-22.  His desire to get a quick sale with lower labor costs may not be in your best interest.