News or Noise: Do air conditioners that use Freon need to be replaced?

August 01, 2018 11:36 PM

You may have seen social media reports warning you that you'll soon need to fork over a few thousand dollars to buy a new air conditioning unit because of a chemical that many older models use, is now banned.  

Here's a look at the claim: Air conditioners that use the refrigerant Freon have to be replaced by 2020. That's only 17 months and one more hot summer season away, so News10NBC did some digging and here's what we found.    


The Environmental Protection Agency has a whole page on its website devoted to answering questions about HCFC-22, that's a principal component of the refrigerant commonly known as Freon.

Most home air conditioning units, manufactured before Jan.1, 2010 use Freon.

But according to the EPA, HCFC-22 depletes the earth's protective ozone layer, so EPA regulations are gradually reducing the production and use of the refrigerant. 

In fact, manufacturers can no longer make new air conditioners that are Freon-based.  

But that doesn't mean you have to spend thousands of dollars to buy a new AC unit. 

Gradually manufactures switched to ozone-friendly refrigerants, allowing older air conditioners to be replaced on a normal schedule.

But, the EPA warns supplies of Freon will be limited and costly as its phased out of production.

Beginning in 2020, new HCFC-22 can no longer be produced, so consumers will have to rely on reclaimed and previously-produced Freon to service home AC systems still operating after that date,making this claim 50/50.


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