Freon is being phased out! It is no longer being produced or imported due to its environmental effects. So, what do you do now?
The history of Freon
Freon was first introduced in the 1930s. At the time, it was a safer form of refrigerant than what was being used – carbon dioxide, sulfur dioxide, and even ammonia! The benefits of Freon were clear, according to DuPont. Freon was non-toxic and non-flammable. It was also much more efficient than other forms of refrigerant, meaning that it could keep things cold for more extended periods of time.
But it definitely wasn’t perfect …
The problem with Freon
Unfortunately, we now know that Freon is not as safe as we thought. In fact, it’s been found to be one of the most harmful chemicals to the environment. This state-changing liquid/gas in your fridge and your air conditioner is comprised of something called “hydrofluorocarbons,” or HFCs. To explain the science, what that means is that it’s composed of fluorine, carbon, and hydrogen. This is so dangerous for the environment because when HFCs are released into the atmosphere, they can trap heat. That’s right – the very thing that your air conditioner is doing to cool you off in the summer is actually contributing to climate change. In fact, HFCs are hundreds to thousands of times more potent than carbon dioxide when it comes to trapping heat in the atmosphere!
In addition to that, Freon can also be harmful to your health if you’re exposed to it for too long. Refrigerant leaks can cause “refrigerant poisoning,” which can lead to headaches, dizziness, and even death in extreme cases. It’s rare that something like this would happen and poison someone inside their home, but it’s something to be cognizant of, like other gas leaks!
So, what’s being done about it?
In response to the dangers of Freon and other greenhouse gases, international agreements were made to phase out its production and use. Freon is just the commercial name for a group of HFCs. The most common Freon used in air conditioners is called R-22. As of 2020, the production and importation of R-22 have been banned in the United States. It’s being replaced with the safer R-410A, which doesn’t have the same adverse environmental effects since it is chlorine-free.
What if my A/C uses Freon?
If you have an older air conditioner that uses Freon, you might be wondering what you can do to replace it or how you can continue to get it serviced as-is.
If you have an appliance that uses Freon, don’t worry! You can still get it serviced and refilled by certified professionals. But keep in mind that this will become increasingly difficult and more expensive as Freon becomes scarcer. Eventually, it will no longer be available at all. So, if you’re in the market for a new air conditioner, it will be guaranteed to use R-410A!
Not only is this better for the environment, but it’s also more efficient, meaning that it will save you money on your energy bill in the long run.
So, there you have it! Freon is being phased out, and you need to know about it. Be sure to stay up to date on the changing landscape of air conditioning so that you can make the best choices for your home and the environment! Do you have any questions for Weather Master? Would you like to learn more about our options for air conditioner replacement and the highest-efficiency Lennox systems? Schedule an appointment online or call now: (919) 853-7910