The R-22 Phaseout: An HVAC Contractor's Guide

Annual R-22 Phaseout

Due to environmental concerns, the EPA is annually decreasing the amount of R-22 that can be produced or imported until the gas is phased out in 2020.

Where is the Price Heading?

Like any product, R-22's price is driven by supply and demand, and demand for this popular refrigerant is expected to outpace EPA allowances. To what degree is impossible to predict, but pricing is likely to rise incrementally as the phaseout progresses.

What Can I Do?

There are several things you can do to preserve your customer service and profitability during the R-22 phaseout.

Remember to Reclaim

Reclaimed R-22 will help fill the supply-demand gap and this activity is not capped. EPA-certified reclaimers can reclaim R-22 now and beyond 2020. How does this benefit you? See the section below.

As R-22 prices rise, so do buyback rates. Selling recovered refrigerant can yield a nice profit.

Working directly with a reclaimer helps ensure your access to R-22 when supplies get tight.

Properly recovering R-22 and selling it to a certified reclaimer limits your liability for EPA fines.

Stay Informed & Share Knowledge

The supply-demand dynamic will continuously evolve as the months pass and various factors, including the economy and weather, come into play. Read industry publications and establish an ongoing dialogue with your reclaimer to maintain a sense of the R-22 market.

Also, share your knowledge with your customer base. You may need to explain pricing changes and retrofit options. Your customers will appreciate your expertise as they make informed decisions regarding their R-22 equipment.

Consider a Retrofit

While there is no true replacement for R-22, these refrigerants can be used as a retrofit for existing R-22 equipment. These HFC refrigerants have no ozone depletion potential (ODP), low global warming potential (GWP), and good energy efficiency.

The best choice for your application will depend on several factors, including application temperature, cooling capacity, and power consumption objectives. Each application is different, so explore your options on a case-by-case basis.

Please note: these retrofits typically require an oil change. Always refer to the equipment manufacturer's guidelines prior to performing a retrofit.