Why is R-22 Refrigerant Being Phased Out?
R-22 refrigerant, which you may know as “Freon,” is nearing the end of its phaseout in the U.S. because it damages the Earth’s protective ozone layer. The phaseout is part of a global initiative to reduce chemicals that harm the ozone layer. This process has been happening over the last few decades.
What Does the R-22 Phaseout Mean for Homeowners?
As of January 2020, it is now illegal to produce or import the refrigerant R-22 in the U.S. Although no new R-22 can be produced or imported, there will still be an existing supply that can be used for older AC systems.
Air conditioning systems manufactured before 2010 likely use R-22 refrigerant. Those systems made after 2010, however, use a new more environmentally friendly type of refrigerant, called R-410a (also known by the trade name “Puron”). The R-22 phaseout will not affect newer AC systems using R-410a.
The remaining or recycled/reclaimed R-22 can still be used for servicing older systems. There are also many EPA-approved alternatives to R-22. So in 2020 and thereafter, if an AC system has a leak and needs refrigerant, the technician can still add R-22 refrigerant or replace it with an appropriate alternative. If the AC system needs more extensive repairs or new components that only work with newer refrigerants, it may need to be retrofitted to use a new refrigerant or replaced entirely.
First American Home Warranty: Big HVAC Coverage
With air conditioning coverage from First American Home Warranty, whether a system uses R-22 or a newer refrigerant, we’ll cover the cost to get the system working again.
- No Refrigerant Limits: While some home warranties only cover part of the cost of refrigerant, we have no limits on the cost or amount of refrigerant covered.
- Repair and Replace: If your client’s system needs repairs, we’ll cover the cost of converting it to use an approved, more environmentally friendly refrigerant. If the system must be replaced with a new system, we’ll cover that, too*. Without a home warranty, this could cost many thousands of dollars.
- Unknown Pre-existing Conditions: We cover unknown conditions and problems due to lack of maintenance, rust, and corrosion for home warranties purchased as part of a real estate transaction.
- No Size Limit on Covered Residential AC Units: Regardless of size, we’ll make sure your clients stay cool.
What a Home Warranty Might Not Cover
If an AC system needs to be retrofitted or replaced, newer and more energy-efficient systems and components are often larger than their older counterparts. This can mean that electrical, ducting, or venting may need to be modified to work with newer components.
While First American Home Warranty covers new equipment and installation, clients may be responsible for these types of modifications and other charges, such as flushing the line set or the recovery, reclaim, and recapture of refrigerant. With our coverage-enhancing First Class Upgrade, some of these additional costs may be covered.
Do Homeowners Have to Pay for Refrigerant?
No. As supplies dwindle, prices for R-22 may rise, but with AC coverage from First American Home Warranty, homeowners don’t have to worry. We will cover the cost to refill the system, no matter what type or how much refrigerant it needs.
How Do I Tell What Refrigerant a System Uses?
If you don’t know how old an AC system is, most have a plate on the outdoor unit (the condenser) that lists the type of refrigerant it uses. Look for R-22 or R-410a. If you don’t see the refrigerant type, but know the manufacturer and model number, you can also check the manufacturer’s website for more details.
Does First American Cover Older AC Systems?
Yes, a First American Home Warranty will cover your AC system, regardless of age, provided it was in good working order at the time coverage started. If a covered AC system breaks and we can’t repair it, we’ll replace it* with a new system.
*In some instances, Homeowner and First American may agree to payment of cash in lieu of repair or replacement. Payment will be made based on First American’s negotiated rates with its suppliers, which may be less than retail. Please review the sample contract for specific coverage, terms and limitations.