According to the Montreal Protocol, which is an international treaty designed to protect the ozone layer, Freon®22 has been deemed harmful and is currently being phased out. Freon®22 causes no harm while it remains inside the air conditioning unit, but once released, it is damaging to the earth’s atmosphere. By the year 2020, there will be a 99.5% reduction in the production of Freon®22.
Freon®22 is an HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon) and is the most commonly used refrigerant in residential homes today. According to the EPA’s website, all developed countries are now subject to caps on their consumption and production of HCFCs. The U.S. and other developed nations must achieve a certain percentage of progress towards the total phase-out of production and consumption of HCFCs by certain dates.
The new refrigerant of choice is Puron®, also known as R-410A, which been approved by the EPA to replace Freon®22 and is the world’s first long-term solution to ozone depletion. As early as this year, we can expect a 90% reduction in Freon®22 usage.
What does all this mean?
Well, since the average age of an air conditioning system is around 12 years, this means that during the lifetime of an air conditioning system purchased today, Freon®22 will be completely obsolete because the manufacture of it will be banned.