Friday, October 25, 2013

How R-22 Refrigerant Affects Your HVAC Business  

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), releases of R-22 refrigerant, a greenhouse gas, contribute to depletion of the ozone. In an effort to protect our ozone, the EPA has implemented a phase-out schedule for the gas commonly used in air conditioners and heat pumps.

As a result, HVAC manufacturers haven’t been able to produce new air conditioners and heat pumps containing R-22 since 2010. Additionally, by 2020, chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce R-22 to service existing air conditioners and heat pumps. After 2020, the servicing of systems using R-22 will rely solely on recycled or reclaimed refrigerants.

What does this mean for you and your customers?

To put it simply, you have two choices:

1.   Service existing units
While companies are no longer able to import R-22 for use in new air conditioning equipment, they can continue to import it until 2020 for use in servicing existing equipment. While this sounds easy enough, here’s the downfall:

As the production of R-22 refrigerant continues to decrease, the price—which is currently quoted to range from $35 to $175 per pound—will no doubt continue to skyrocket.

As these costs continue to rise, and your customers continue to face sticker shock, you may consider replacing old R-22 units with those that use more environmentally friendly refrigerants such as R-410A. Unfortunately, R-22-based systems aren’t compatible with R-410A, so consumers will need to replace the entire system.

2.   Install new units
To avoid having to purchase the highly priced R-22, many of our contractors have been talking with their customers about the benefit of installing a new unit. New systems are more environmentally friendly, meaning they’re more energy efficient and can save your customers money on their monthly cooling costs.

In 2011, we implemented a Rapid Recovery Program for our contractors. The DYNACYCLE Refrigerant Recycling Program turns R-22 recovery cylinders into Comfort Supply store credit. As the market price of R-22 continues to increase, contractors earn more for each pound of R-22 they recover.

To learn more about our refrigerant recycling program, see our blog post or call us at 800-467-4235.

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