EPA Regulations on R-22 / SEER Ratings
By Betty Stephens of Quest Media
The EPA has begun phasing out the production of R-22 and has banned the production of HVAC equipment that uses R-22 in compliance with Title VI of the Clean Air Act. The refrigerant that replaces R-22 is R-410A. R-410A is an HFC refrigerant blend with common trade names such as GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, Forane® 410A, and Puron®.
R-22 will be manufactured on a limited basis after this year and after 2020 will not be manufactured after... The EPA suggests that contractors to recycle and rescue as much R-22 to be used to continue to service existing units...
R-410A requires more pressure to cool, so therefore it requires new compressor and piping. Both the outside and inside unit must be replaced and current piping would need to be flushed with a special chemical.
The use of R-410A, as opposed to R-22, does not affect the HVAC unit’s energy efficiency. The energy efficiency is determined by a system’s SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio). As of 2006, the minimum SEER rating allowed to be manufactured in the U.S. is a 13 which is 30% more efficient than a 10 rating. To receive the ENERGY STAR, a system must have a minimum 14 SEER rating. Currently, you can find a residential split-system with a SEER rating of 20 or more, but at a substantial cost over the standard SEER 13 units.
Systems with R-22 may find as the manufacturing of the product is reduced, the supply becoming difficult to find. “Also the price of R-22 is rising. Although the continued use of existing appliances with R-22 is not banned nor is the EPA mandating all R-22 equipment be converted, that is a factor that a homeowner should take into consideration when faced with repairing or replacing their system. More factors to take into consideration are the cost, energy efficiency, reliability, and performance. The life span of the outside condensing unit is usually around 15 years and the furnace around 20 years.
To learn more click the following link for EPA’s phase out of R-22 and R142b: