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More Environmentally Friendly Refrigerants are Coming

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For years, Freon® (R-22) was synonymous with residential air-conditioning refrigerant.

Recognizing that the manufacture of Freon had an adverse effect on the environment, the EPA began a decade-long transition to more environmentally friendly products, like Puron® (R-410A), which concluded in 2020.

Designed to protect the ozone layer by phasing out substances, like the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in Freon, the Montreal Protocol has undergone nine revisions since it went into effect in 1989. The Kigali Amendment, its most recent revision, gradually reduces the consumption and production of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), including Puron, and that means that another phase out is underway.

Signed into law in December of 2020, the American Innovation and Manufacturing Act (AIM) mandates the reduction of HFCs by 85% over the next 15 years. Several states, including California, have more aggressive timelines that are sure to influence the speed at which residential HVAC manufacturers phase out refrigerants with a high Global Warming Potential (GWP).

Carrier has already announced that, starting in 2023, all residential air conditioning systems manufactured in North America will use a Puron Advance™ (R-454-b), a refrigerant blend with considerably lower GWP than its predecessors. Other manufacturers are expected to follow suit.

What does this mean for you?

 

In addition to being more environmentally friendly, these refrigerants are thought to be more energy efficient, so the operating cost of the newer units is expected to be lower, but it’s not all good news…

These new refrigerant alternatives are mildly flammable, requiring building code changes, special equipment to minimize risk, and additional training for the HVAC technicians. The additional precautions will also make installations and repairs take longer. With another phase out on the horizon, the decision to repair or replace older units will also be affected.

The highly trained technicians at Sean McCutcheon's Air Conditioning and Heating are NATE Certified and they stay up to date with the newest products and technologies. As systems become more complicated, these qualities are more important than ever.

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