The Rising Cost of R-22

Apr 27, 2018 | Air Conditioning

Close up view on HVAC units (heating, ventilation and air conditioning). 3D rendered illustration.

The rising cost of refrigerant may leave you fearing your HVAC company is being dishonest. However, you’re not being scammed. Here’s what you need to know about today’s high cost of refrigerant.

Why Has Some Refrigerant Become So Expensive?

About 25 years ago, an international treaty referred to as the Montreal Protocol changed modern air-conditioning dramatically. It was adopted in an effort to protect the Earth’s ozone layer. Significant fines, and even prison time, penalized individuals who failed to observe the terms of the agreement. The agreement targeted R22, commonly known as Freon, believing it was a significant ozone-depleting substance.

Beginning in 2010, production of R22 was reduced by 75%. By 2015, production dropped by 90%. By 2020, production of R22 stops completely, and the only R22 available will be that which is reclaimed from existing units.

In our supply and demand economy, the cost of items in short-supply inevitably rise. Since January, 2012, the cost of R22 has increased by around 800%. Customers who replace R22 should expect costs 4 times just 3-4 years ago.

Can I Switch to Another Refrigerant in My Unit?

No, do not switch to another refrigerant! Today’s environmentally friendly refrigerant, 410A, is totally incompatible with an R22 unit. 410A has a higher pressure than R22, and will break an R22 unit. R22 units were protected through mineral oil, while 410A units rely on synthetic oil.

Even the smallest amount of interaction between R22 and 410A causes catastrophic failure of the unit, making repair impossible and requiring replacement.

Why Would I Need to Purchase R22?

R22 is lost when leaks develop in the air conditioning unit. The answer is not to continually replace R22, but to repair the leak.

Depending upon the age and condition of the unit, it may be time to replace an aging unit which has developed leaks, with an environmentally friendly unit which should help manage energy costs and enhance your family’s comfort.

Contact Us

The experts at Welch’s Heating & Air are happy to answer your questions about managing comfort costs during the hot Wichita, KS, summers. Call us today at 316-733-1600 or request service online!


Welch's Heating & Air is proud to offer HVAC services to Wichita, Andover, Augusta, Towanda, El Dorado, Rose Hill, Douglas, Derby, Haysville, Goddard and the surrounding communities. Call us at 316-733-1600 or request service online today!

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