Residential Air Conditioning and
the Phaseout of HCFC-22
What You Need to Know
What Is the HCFC Phaseout?
To protect the stratospheric ozone layer, under the
U.S. Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol on
Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United
States has phased out the production and import of
hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) with limited
exceptions. By phasing out ozone-depleting
substances like HCFCs, we are reducing the risk of
skin cancer caused by exposure to UV radiation. In
addition, many of these ozone-depleting substances
are potent greenhouse gases.
No Immediate Change Is Required
HCFC-22, commonly referred to as R-22, is used as
a refrigerant in many applications, including
residential air-conditioning (AC) systems. U.S.
production and import of HCFC-22 ended on January
1, 2020, but you may continue to use HCFC-22 in
your existing system for as long as necessary
HCFC-22 that is recovered and reclaimed, along with
HCFC-22 produced prior to 2020, wiil help meet the
needs of owners of existing HCFC-22 systems.
Planning for the Future Is Important
Even though there is no immediate need for
change, you can take steps to keep your system
running efficiently and keep HCFC-22 in your
system. By asking your service technician to
check for leaks and perform preventive
maintenance, you can help keep your refrigerant
emissions down and reduce the need to
purchase additional HCFC-22. Air conditioning
equipment generally runs most efficiently on the
type of refrigerant it was designed for, but when
the time does come to replace or retrofit your
system, there are many non-ozone-depleting
alternatives available.
How can I find out if my home
air conditioner contains HCFC-22?
Most air conditioners have a nameplate
on the unit that identifies the refrigerant it
contains and other information, such as safety
certifications and electrical ratings.
What Alternatives Can Be Used
instead of HCFC-22?
Many non-ozone-depleting alternatives to
HCFC-22 are available. See the table on the
next page for some of the most common non-
ozone-depleting alternatives that are listed as
acceptable under ERA'S Significant New
Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program. Some of
these alternatives are for new residential AC
systems, while others are listed for use in both
new and retrofitted residential AC systems. A
full list of acceptable alternatives under SNAP
is available at

If your service technician is retrofitting a system, be sure he or she recovers any HCFC-22 still in your AC,
follows the manufacturer's suggested handling and installation guidelines for that particular alternative, and
explains how the conversion to a different refrigerant might affect your system's performance and energy use.
Are There Other Refrigerant Regulations Affecting Residential AC?
Yes. Under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act and EPA's regulations, it is illegal for anyone to knowingly vent or
intentionally release refrigerant while servicing, repairing, maintaining or disposing of AC equipment. There
are additional handling, recovery, and sales requirements that apply to certain refrigerants.
Is R-22a An Acceptable Alternative to HCFC-22?
No. R-22a or 22a refrigerant has been falsely marketed as R-22 or an R-22 replacement, but it is a
hydrocarbon refrigerant blend whose primary components include flammable substances such as propane
and butane. This refrigerant is highly flammable and not an acceptable alternative for your residential AC
Other EPA Resources
•	Phaseout of Ozone-Depleting Substances:
•	Section 608 of the Clean Air Act: Stationary Refrigeration and Air Conditioning:
•	Questions and Answers about R-22a Safety:
•	Frequently Asked Questions About Repairing or Replacing Your Home Air Conditioner:
•	Homeowners Frequently Asked Questions:
•	Indoor Air Quality in Homes:
•	ENERGY STAR® Energy Savings at Home:
Office of Air and Radiation
(6205T) E PA-430-F R-20001
February 2020