Repairing or Replacing Your Home Air Conditioner
To protect the Earth’s ozone layer, EPA regulations are restricting the refrigerants found in many home air conditioning systems. This information will help answer some questions you may have about whether they affect your home air conditioner.
Do the regulations mean I have to replace my existing home AC?
No. You are not required to replace your existing home air conditioner. Even if your air conditioner needs major repairs, you are not required to replace it.
I hear regulations are banning the refrigerant in my air conditioner. Why is that?
The refrigerant used in nearly all home air conditioners made before January 1, 2010, is R-22. Because R-22 depletes the Earth’s protective ozone layer, EPA is gradually reducing amounts of that chemical that can be produced. In fact, EPA’s regulations ban manufacturers from making new air conditioners that use R-22. But to preserve the useful life of R-22 equipment consumers have already purchased, EPA allows R-22 to be used to service existing air conditioners.
If my air conditioner is not working properly, can I have it serviced?
Yes. EPA is allowing some R-22 to be produced for just that purpose. The cost of replacing an air conditioner can be substantial. EPA does not want to force you to replace an existing system when repairing your system is an option.
Can I replace a component of my air conditioner?
Yes. Replacing a component with a new comparable one is allowed. For instance, you may replace a central air conditioner’s condensing unit, the part located outside.
Am I required to switch to a more efficient air conditioner or one that uses a different refrigerant?
No. EPA is not requiring you to switch to a more efficient air conditioner or one that uses different refrigerant. But if you’re faced with a major repair, you may decide that it is worth investing in a more efficient ENERGY STAR® air conditioner to cut down on your electricity bills. Also, you may decide to use a refrigerant that does not harm the ozone layer. That way, you need not worry about tight supplies and rising prices of R-22 as EPA continues to reduce amounts available, reaching a level near zero in 2020. This is your choice.
For more information, please see:
- Homeowners Frequently Asked Questions
- What You Should Know about Refrigerants When Purchasing or Repairing a Residential A/C System or Heat Pump
- Basic Information on Stratospheric Ozone Depletion