R22 Replacement: A Comprehensive Guide (2023)


Welcome to our comprehensive guide on R22 replacement. In this article, we will discuss the phase-out of R22, its impact on the environment, and the available alternatives. We understand the importance of providing detailed information to help you make informed decisions about your air conditioning system. Let's dive in!

The Phase-Out of R22

R22, also known as hydrochlorofluorocarbon 22 (HCFC-22), is a refrigerant commonly used in air conditioning systems. However, R22 is a contributor to global warming and the depletion of the earth's ozone layer. To mitigate its harmful effects on the environment, the production of R22 is being phased out, and its use will become illegal starting from January 1, 2020 [[SOURCE 1]].

Impact on Existing R22 Units

The phase-out of R22 will have implications for existing R22 units. After January 1, 2020, R22 will only be available from reclaimed, recycled, or old stock. This limited availability will lead to a price hike and make it more challenging to maintain existing R22 units [[SOURCE 1]].

Alternatives to R22

Fortunately, there are alternatives to R22 that can be used in air conditioning systems. Units made after 2010 can use R22 alternatives such as R410A, R134A, R407C, and R407A. These refrigerants provide effective cooling without the ozone-depleting features of R22 and have an acceptable Global Warming Potential (GWP) [[SOURCE 1]].

Replacing R22

If your unit runs on R22, you have several options for replacement. You can choose to replace the refrigerant yourself or hire a professional to assist you. It's important to note that units running on R22 are likely older systems that may already be running at a decreased capacity due to age. Therefore, investing in a new system with an R22 alternative may be a more viable long-term solution [[SOURCE 1]].

DIY Replacement

If you decide to replace the refrigerant yourself, it's crucial to follow proper procedures. Ensure that you have the necessary knowledge and equipment to handle refrigerants safely. Additionally, it's essential to fix any leaks you find in the refrigerant lines to prevent further issues [[SOURCE 1]].

Hiring a Contractor

If you're unable to replace the refrigerant yourself or prefer professional assistance, hiring a certified contractor is a viable option. A contractor can retrofit your current unit using an eco-friendly R22 alternative such as Freon™ MO99. This alternative can help revive older systems that have little to no refrigerant charge or need a component replaced. It's a cost-effective solution that doesn't require major system modifications [[SOURCE 1]].

Installing a New System

In some cases, your existing system may not be compatible with R22 alternatives. In such situations, you have the option of installing a new system that uses more affordable and environmentally friendly refrigerant options. Upgrading to a new system not only saves money in the long run but also reduces energy bills and repair costs. Additionally, it can increase the resale value of your home [[SOURCE 1]].

Disposing of Leftover Refrigerant

Proper disposal of leftover R22 refrigerant is crucial to protect the environment. It's illegal to haphazardly leak R22 into the environment, as per the Clean Air Act and EPA regulations. To dispose of leftover refrigerant, it's best to call a professional HVAC technician who can drain the refrigerant lines using the correct equipment [[SOURCE 1]].

R22 Alternatives

Several R22 alternatives are available in the market, each with its own benefits. Here are a few popular alternatives:

  1. R410A: This refrigerant is safe for the environment, affordable, and easy to store, use, and transport.
  2. R134A: Known for its eco-friendliness, non-flammability, and non-toxicity, R134A is an affordable alternative.
  3. R407C: Retrofit for R22, this refrigerant is safe for the environment and suitable for various applications.
  4. R407A: Offering a substantially lower carbon footprint and improved energy efficiency, R407A is an excellent choice for commercial refrigeration and vending machines.
  5. MO99 (R438A): This alternative can retrofit current R22 systems without requiring oil changes. It is safe for the environment and suitable for various applications.
  6. RS-44b: A direct replacement for R22, RS-44b offers similar flow rates, lower pressure than R407A, lower energy consumption, and the lowest GWP among R22 replacements. It requires no oil or system component changes [[SOURCE 1]].

Benefits of Replacing R22

Replacing R22 with an alternative refrigerant offers several benefits:

  1. Environmental Impact: By switching from R22 to an alternative refrigerant, you contribute to reducing harmful chemicals, ozone depletion, and global warming.
  2. Cost Savings: Older units are prone to wear and tear, leading to increased cooling costs over time. Upgrading to a new system with an R22 alternative can help reduce these costs.
  3. Improved Efficiency: Newer units are more efficient and can maintain comfortable temperatures with less effort, resulting in energy savings.
  4. Affordability: R22 alternatives are easier to source and more affordable than R22 itself, especially as its availability decreases.
  5. Long-Term Investment: Replacing R22 units with newer systems not only benefits the environment but also increases the resale value of your home [[SOURCE 1]].


In conclusion, the phase-out of R22 refrigerant presents an opportunity to transition to more environmentally friendly alternatives. Whether you choose to replace the refrigerant yourself or hire a professional, it's important to consider the long-term benefits of upgrading your air conditioning system. By making an informed decision, you can contribute to a greener future while enjoying cost savings and improved efficiency.

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