Do I Have To Upgrade My Entire HVAC System If It Uses R-22 Coolant?

r22 refrigerant replacementSooner or later, old air conditioners will show some wear and tear. When the issues become too serious to cause inconvenience to you and your home, the only next step you have to take is to choose whether to replace or repair. Repairs are far cheaper, more convenient, and often quickly done depending on the problem of the unit, as long as it is relatively new.

However, the same cannot be said of older cooling systems. Most of the time, these systems will not work as efficiently as they did and would be best replaced. This is particularly necessary for units that still use the R-22 refrigerant, a chemical compound that was deemed illegal to produce and import as of the beginning of 2020 in the U.S.

Consequently, many homeowners question whether or not an air conditioner recharge or retrofit is a useful option. Making the best decision can be a tricky process, particularly if you have to decide whether to replace the whole system or go for a retrofit.

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R22 Replacement: What You Need to Know About The Government Phaseout

Many consumers are wondering why there is a need to phase out R-22 when it has been used for decades. The truth is that while this compound is reliable as a refrigerant, it also contains HCFCs or hydrochlorofluorocarbons. HCFCs are excellent coolants, but they carry a risk. When HCFC molecules are released into the air, they also release substances that damage the environment. Study after study shows that HCFCs have contributed significantly to the damage of the planet’s ozone layer, making it thinner and thinner.

The ozone layer acts as a protective layer that blocks harmful ultraviolet light. With the destruction of the ozone layer, organic matter on the surface of the planet is more vulnerable to dangerous UV rays. When manufacturers and governments realized the problem, they decided to cut the problem at the source, which in this case is R-22. Other refrigerants have since replaced the coolant such as HCFC-free products and R-22 alternatives.

How The R-22 Ban Affects NJ Homeowners

air conditioner technicianIf your current HVAC system uses R-22, you might find it very costly to purchase a refill should you require it this season or after, due to the expected decrease in R-22 supply. Air conditioners will require a coolant recharge in case of leaks. Therefore, this option means that you will pay a hefty repair bill on a system that is already on its last leg.


Here’s another issue you may be contending with if you have an older air conditioning system: efficiency. The older the unit gets, the less efficient it will be and the more expensive it will become to run. Performance-wise, the unit will not be as efficient in cooling your home as it was before.

Economic Considerations

Now for the financial part of the issue. Keep in mind that once the supply dips and the demand remains the same, the r22 refrigerant prices will begin to rise. Homeowners who keep their old air conditioners may be compromising the comfort and safety of their homes. Recharging their units may seem like a wise thing to do. However, even before the cutoff date, manufacturers were no longer producing R-22. They were more interested in selling their remaining stocks producing other types of R–22 replacement refrigerants.

For homeowners who plan on replacing their units, however, there is some good news on the horizon. The government offers perks such as tax breaks for homeowners who plan to buy new, eco-friendly air conditioners. Be sure to call the heating and cooling experts at McAllister Energy for more information.

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R-22 Replacements: R-4104A and Refrigerant Alternatives

The scientific community has developed many coolants that can replace R-22 with the same or better results. These alternatives are preferred because they do not cause damage to the environment. One of these is R-4104A, often packaged in pink cylinders.

Honeywell developed R-4104A in 1991, and while the company still leads in production, other companies produce the coolant under license. What’s great about these new R22 replacements is that they do not cause ozone depletion and HVAC companies offer them already. Another coolant to consider is R-4212A, considered an eco-friendly refrigerant of the future.

AC Retrofit or Full AC Upgrade?

air conditioner replacementA full upgrade is still a considerable expense even with tax breaks and available rebates. This is why many homeowners are considering retrofitting, a low-cost option where they could retain the old air conditioning unit but run it using a refrigerant alternative. The argument is that since R-22 is the problem, then simply replacing it with a better refrigerant without getting rid of the old unit is possible. Unfortunately, this only works on paper.

R-22 requires lower pressure compared to R-22 alternatives. Older AC units were built to run on low pressure, and if they are run using R-22 replacements, the unit may break under the stress of the change. Over time, problems like coil and condenser leaks occur. Once the problem shows up, it may cause more damage to the unit than necessary.

A better option would be a full air conditioner upgrade since a new unit uses new refrigerants. A new unit can run smoothly without any issues for about ten or more years. Try to calculate the cost of getting an older unit repaired periodically compared to purchasing a new air conditioning unit, and you will find that buying a new air conditioner is a far better option. Getting an upgrade will eventually pay for itself and still save you money, thanks to the improved energy efficiency of newer units. The latest HVAC systems are simply technologically superior to older systems. Plus, there are tax breaks and incentives that homeowners can avail to help defray the cost of a new unit. Be sure to call the HVAC experts at McAllister Energy for more information.

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Why It’s Better To Replace Your HVAC Systems At The Same Time

Whether or not to replace the HVAC system at the same time is a dilemma that many homeowners face. However, the answer is simple: having the whole system replaced all at once will help you save money and use energy efficiently. The latest HVAC models are simply better in terms of features and performance.

While the idea of adding newer components to an old system can seem tempting, it is not always a good approach. New components on older systems will decrease the overall performance of the unit. Manufacturers will also reject claims on warranties when incompatible systems are put together. Call McAllister Energy, your local HVAC service company, for more information.


McAllister Energy is your reliable HVAC service provider. For affordable heating and cooling services that meet your needs and budget, we offer fast, accurate, and professional services. We perform installations, repairs, tune-ups, and maintenance to keep your HVAC system functioning at its best.

Call us today for a free consultation and to find out more about what we can offer. Our expert HVAC technicians will identify your issues and discuss your needs to find the best available solutions. Get in touch with us today. To learn more, call us at (856) 665-4545 or click here to get in touch with us.

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