Soon-to-be discontinued AC refrigerant may mean some units will be obsolete

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OKLAHOMA CITY -- With the summer heat in full swing, the last thing people want to hear is that their air conditioning units may be obsolete, but for some who have an older air conditioner, that could be the case due to new regulations.

Beginning January 1, 2020, R-22 or better known as 'freon' will no longer be produced. Freon is a refrigerant often used in air conditioning equipment.

Jason White with Air Comfort Solutions said its phase-out process began in 2010.

"The EPA, back in January 1, 2010, started phasing out R22 because they’re saying it’s harmful to the ozone," White said. "So for the last ten years, they’ve been slowly phasing it slowly as we go and it’s supposed to be completely phased out January 1, 2020. After that, the only availability will be stockpiles that people have or recycled R22. They won’t be producing it anymore."

They will soon move toward the refrigerant R-410A. White said this means it could be hard to find R-22 and it will be pricey.

"So if you have a slow leak and you need a couple pounds of R22, it`s going to be pricey because it`s not going to be made anymore," he explained.

Robert Overhulser has lived in his Edmond home for 15 years. His family has two units, one is still running with R-22.

"It still works good. It’s convenient to keep it the same until it’s time to replace the unit," Overhulser told News 4.

Experts tell News 4 the new regulation doesn't mean everyone has to replace their entire units if they still run on R-22.

"If your system is not leaking and there’s no signs of it being low on charge then the law change may not be an issue for you at all. It may be years and years without you having to deal with R22 freon," said Ted Dockrey with Sun Tech Heat and Air.

It's important for people to weigh their options.

"You got to look at the repair you have. A compressor is going to be a higher cost repair and then you’re going to replace some R22 back into that system, so that’s just going to have to add on top of that," White said. "It’s one of those things like, hey…this a pretty big repair. Maybe we should just look at replacing the entire system rather than just fixing this one."

For more on the phase-out, click here.

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