HCFCs and the Ozone Layer

The stratospheric ozone layer shields the Earth
from the sun's harmful ultraviolet radiation.
Emissions of certain synthetic chemicals—including
CFCs, halons, and HCFCs—destroy the ozone layer,
and have created an "ozone hole" over the South

Through the Montreal Protocol on Substances
that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United States
committed to a collaborative, international
effort to regulate and phase out ozone-depleting
substances. While the US phased out of CFCs and
halons in the  mid 90's, we now must reduce HCFC
consumption  in a step-wise fashion.
Phaseout of R-22 and R142b

HCFC-22 (also called R-22) and HCFC-142b are the
next two HCFCs that the United States will phase
out. The schedule to phase out HCFCs is:

January 1, 2010
Ban on production, import and use of HCFC-22
and HCFC-142b, except for continuing servicing
needs of existing equipment

January 1, 2015
Ban on production, import, and use of all
HCFCs, except for continuing servicing needs of
refrigeration equipment

January 1, 2020
Ban on remaining production and import of
HCFC-22 and HCFC-142b. After 2020, the
servicing of systems with R-22 will rely on recycled
or stockpiled quantities

January 1, 2030
Ban on remaining production and import of
all  HCFCs
United States
Environmental Protection
    Phasing Out HCFC
 Refrigerants To Protect
     The Ozone Layer

    What you need to know when
servicing or replacing an air conditioner
           in your home
           EPA Ozone Web Site
 EPA Stratospheric Ozone Information Hotline

          ENERGY STAR Web Site

    U.S. Environmental Protection Agency
            Mail Code 6205J
      1200 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW
       Washington, D.C. 20460-0001
 EPA promotes energy efficiency and the safe
use of ozone-friendly substances, and does not
endorse any particular company or its products.
                                                             United States
                                                             Environmental Protection

What are HCFCs and R-22?
Hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs, are
chemicals that are mainly used as refrigerants.
Unfortunately, releases of HCFCs deplete the
Earth's protective ozone layer and  contribute
to climate change.
R-22 is an HCFC refrigerant that is often used
in air-conditioning equipment.  To protect the
Earth's protective  ozone layer, the United
States is phasing out R-22, along with other
As the United States phases out refrigerant
R-22, you will need to  make informed choices
when servicing, repairing, or replacing
an existing air-conditioning unit or when
purchasing a new unit. EPA has banned the
manufacture of new equipment that contains
R-22.  As a homeowner, you need to consider
and balance  several key factors in your
decision to purchase a new unit, such as
energy efficiency, performance, reliability,
cost, and the refrigerant used.
The lengthy phaseout period allows you to
replace your air-conditioning equipment that
contains R-22 when you normally would, for
instance if it becomes old, inefficient, or
ineffective.  Realizing that supplies of R-22
will become more limited and that the price
may increase should also be factors.  In the
meantime, R-22 remains available for
servicing equipment made before 2010.
Availability and Cost of R-22
R-22 is a refrigerant that is often used in air-
conditioning equipment.
Because R-22 depletes the ozone layer,  production
and import was further limited in 2010.
In 2020, R-22 will no longer be produced or imported.
After 2020, only recovered, recycled, or reclaimed
supplies of R-22 will be available.
The production (not use) of R-22 is being phased
out. You are not required to stop using R-22 air
conditioners nor to replace existing equipment.
The phaseout period provides time to switch to
ozone-friendly refrigerants when you  normally would
replace your air conditioner.
In the future, R-22 supplies will be more limited and
costs to service equipment with R-22 may rise.
 Buying a New Air
Servicing Systems with R-22
You may continue to have your equipment containing
R-22 serviced.
The most important thing you can do is to maintain
your unit properly. Appropriate servicing minimizes
potential environmental damage and maintenance
It is important to select a reliable service contractor.
Technicians must have EPA Section 608 certification
to service equipment containing R-22.
Request that service technicians locate and repair
leaks instead of "topping off" lea king systems. This
protects the ozone layer and saves you money by
optimizing performance of your existing equipment.
It is illegal to intentionally release any refrigerant
when making repairs. Technicians must use
refrigerant recovery equipment during service.
EPA has prohibited the manufacture of new
air-conditioning systems that use R-22.
Systems that use alternative refrigerants that do not
harm the ozone layer are available and will become
more common.
New energy efficient air conditioners save energy
costs. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old,
you may save significantly on your energy costs by
replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.
Energy efficiency is measured by the seasonal energy
efficiency ratio (SEER). The higher the ratio, the more
efficient the equipment.
A central air-conditioner that has earned the ENERGY
STAR® label is at least 14% more efficient than a
standard new system and can save you money on
your cooling bill.
ENERGY STAR® qualified systems are available for
both R-22 and alternative (R-410A) systems.
                                                                                                       Alternative Refrigerants
The most common alternative to R-22 is R-410A, a
non-ozone-depleting HFC refrigerant blend.

R-410A is manufactured and sold under various trade
names, including GENTRON AZ-20®, SUVA® 410A,
and PURON®.

EPA reviews alternative refrigerants and maintains a
list of acceptable substitutes for household  and light
commercial air conditioning.

It is illegal to intentionally release refrigerant
substitutes when making repairs. Technicians must
take efforts to avoid releases during service.