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R22 and the Residential HVAC Landscape

We have been hearing it for many years now: in 2020, R22 is banned from production and importation in the US. That’s it! We’re done manufacturing and importing the HCFC that’s damaging the Ozone Layer. Now what…

  • Can I still get R22? 

  • How expensive is it?

  • How expensive will it become?

  • Should I push my customers to replace their equipment, or retrofit to an R22 replacement?

All the questions above are extremely valid, but the answers to them are not easy, and truly depend on your customer’s preference and current financial situation.

What happens when R22 is phased out?

First and foremost, there will not be an R22 supply issue in the short term. Reclaim companies across the country have been taking the gas in and cleaning it since the ban was announced in the early 2000’s. We’ve seen the price of the product spike and then fall again in recent years, but as the reclaim market eventually dries up, pricing will move up once again.

The most important question you should ask is this: what is the best way to take care of my customer? And the answer is: look at the cost of maintenance for their HVAC system and compare that to the current price of R22. Then, explain the options to your customer. We understand this has been the case for quite some time, but now is when you should start preparing for seeing an actual supply issue with R22. 2021 will most likely be the year we will run out.

Can you still use R22?

Moving forward into 2020, you can choose to continue to fix and repair your homeowner’s system with R22. Remember though, this solution is simply a short-term band aid for HVAC equipment that’s already nearing its end. If the price does spike (which it ultimately will), the homeowner is going to be sticker-shocked. 

You can then offer them an alternative, which is to retrofit their system to one of many R22 substitutes. If you retrofit, make sure the substitute refrigerant is from a trusted manufacturer. There are a lot of latest and greatest “drop in’s” out there, but do your research before choosing what is best for your business and your customer.

Selling new HVAC equipment 

The final option is to sell your homeowner new equipment. This is going to be the highest price option. However, if you are putting one or two pounds of R22 in a leaking piece of equipment every few weeks, especially in the summer, service costs are going to be absolutely outrageous for your customers. And adding R22 to a leaky system is a short term fix anyway. 

Explore financing options with your customer if they feel the upfront investment is too much, but explain why moving to a new system on R410A could be the way to go to save them money in the long run.

Gustave A. Larson: the go-to HVAC wholesale distributor 

Not sure how to navigate the current residential HVAC landscape? The Gustave A. Larson Company can help. Feel free to reach out to us for any questions regarding residential HVAC and refrigeration equipment, whether you want to learn more about A2L Refrigerants for air conditioners or find out why HVAC contractors should offer financing options to customers. Call today.