From the Service Star Maintenance Director: After many seasons of working with various HVAC vendors I have seen the rise in cost on R-22 heating and cooling systems. After further research and corresponding with various companies I found this knowledgeable information. For the past four decades, the refrigerant R-22, also known as Freon, has been the refrigerant of choice for residential heat pump and air conditioning systems. A recent Clean Air Act implemented by the EPA has established a schedule to phase-out HCFCs, including R-22, which contain ozone-destroying chlorine.
As of January 2010, equipment using R-22 refrigerant are no longer being manufactured. Manufacturers of residential heat pumps and central air conditioning systems now offer equipment that uses ozone-friendly replacement refrigerants. Homeowners need to be aware of how these changes will affect them: from future availability of R-22, to potential price increases for R-22, to new ozone-friendly replacement refrigerants. Homeowners should take these changes into consideration when repairs on existing equipment need to be done as well as when they are thinking of purchasing new air conditioning systems or heat pumps.
As R-22 is gradually phased out, non-ozone-depleting alternative refrigerants are being introduced to the HVAC industry. One of these substitutes is R-410A. This is manufactured and sold under various trade names, including GENETRON, AZ-20 ®, SUVA 410A ®, and Puron ®.
With the Freon price increasing and the old AC units getting older, Homeowners may start considering changing over to the new system where the price of the refrigerant is much cheaper. In order to change a system over to 410A, it would need to change the condenser (outdoor unit), the evaporator coil and the refrigerant copper line set in most cases. Another consideration, depending of the age of the current unit, may be to install a completely new AC unit to avoid complications and more cost.