First off, you might be wondering what R-22 is. It’s refrigerant—the substance needed for your central air conditioner or heat pump to function at all. Perhaps you have a basic understanding of how refrigerant works, and you might have even had someone tell you that refrigerant needs to be refilled (called recharged in the HVAC industry) every once in a while.
First off, that’s not true—if your system is losing refrigerant, it means there is a leak in the line that has to be repaired before it can be recharged. In the ideal scenario, your AC system has enough refrigerant upon installation to last throughout its entire lifespan.
That brings us back to R-22. If your system is a decade old or older, chances are that it uses this type of refrigerant. And unfortunately, R-22 is being phased out. The reason is due to the harmful effects it has on the environment, so it’s for a good cause! But you may be in for an unpleasant surprise should your older AC need refrigerant.