When Does R22 Become Illegal in the US?

When Does R22 Become Illegal In The US

As the world changes and knowledge evolves, the products we use today may be different than the products we used ten years ago. Think about your average grocery store… ten years ago you did your grocery shopping, filled your car with plastic bags full of food, and then collected those bags under your sink until they were eventually thrown away. Today, you may do things a little differently – like reducing your plastic usage by taking reusable bags to the store. What changed?

Ecological awareness is impacting tons of industries, including the HVAC industry. If your air conditioning system was installed before 2010, you’re likely using a refrigerant known as Freon (or R22). While in the past, it was standard to include Freon in AC units, we now know that it contains chemicals that deplete the ozone layer. To prevent this environmental issue, the US Environmental Protection Agency is making R22 illegal in the US starting on January 1st, 2020.

What’s Being Phased-Out in 2020?

R22 isn’t the only solution being phased out in 2020. For the past few decades, the EPA has identified other synthetic chemicals traditionally used in refrigerants, including CFCs, halons, and HCFCs, that contribute to destroying the ozone layer. While many CFCs were phased out in the mid-90s, there are other chemicals that need to be significantly reduced or eliminated. Next steps include targeting HCFC-R22 (R22) and HCFC-142b.

How Does this Phase-Out Impact You?

Even if your HVAC system was installed before 2010, it doesn’t mean you should immediately chuck out a perfectly working unit. This phase-out just means that beginning in 2020, R22 can no longer be manufactured or imported into the US. Instead, new air conditioning units will use an alternative that is safer for the environment.

Typically, HVAC units can last 10-15 years before needing to be replaced – in some cases even longer with bi-annual professional maintenance. So what do you do with a unit that is using R22?

What are Your Options?

While there are no legal repercussions for having a system that uses R22, there are pros and cons to upgrading your system to a new model.

If your system is relatively new, there are alternatives to replacing your unit. Instead of replacing a seemingly brand new or perfectly working system, you can retrofit (or convert) your R22 equipment to use a safer refrigerant like R-410A. To determine if your unit is a good fit for retrofitting, you could contact an HVAC expert.


  • Repairs are more expensive for units using R22
  • R22 isn’t safe for the environment
  • Older units tend to break down more easily
  • Avoid issues related to older units


  • New systems can be expensive
  • Your current system still works and doesn’t need to be replaced yet

Climate Design Can Help You

At Climate Design, we understand that sometimes AC issues occur during the most inconvenient times. That’s why we provide a 24/7 AC emergency line to resolve your AC issues when you need it. If your HVAC unit is older, or you’re not sure if your system uses R22, our experts can help you explore your options.

Call us if you need assistance ASAP, or to schedule routine HVAC maintenance.

Call (888) 572-7245 to Schedule Your Appointment