“I Think My AC Needs More Freon.”

“My AC is running but not cooling the house well, I think its low on Freon.” If we earned a nickel every time, we heard this from a customer, every Rostron Premium Home Services employee would be living in a mansion somewhere on an island.

What Is Freon and What Is It Used For?

Many people use Freon as a generic term to describe all refrigerants, but it’s technically a specific type. Freon is the trademarked name for R-22 refrigerant. A non-combustible gas, Freon is the refrigerant used in older AC units, including central air and mini-split systems. It circulates inside the AC unit, switching between gas and liquid forms to cool your home. You don’t use up Freon during this process because it’s a closed system, but your system can become low if there’s a leak or other issues. Freon is also sometimes used in stand-alone freezers. Air conditioners made after 2003 likely use a different kind of refrigerant.

Is Freon Banned?

Freon itself isn’t banned, but the production and import of R-22 refrigerant are banned. The Freon that’s already in existence can still be used, but the supplies will eventually dwindle without new production. Freon started to be phased out in the early 90s. While it’s an effective refrigerant, it’s also bad for the ozone layer when it’s released into the environment. The main component in Freon is thought to contribute to global warming.

Is It Still Manufactured?

Freon (R-22) is no longer being manufactured, and it can’t be imported into the United States. It has been going through a phase-out process. Manufacturers stopped making it in 2010 for new equipment. It continued to be produced for equipment that was already in service until 2020. After January 2020, manufacturing stopped, and the only Freon available going forward was the existing supply and any recycled Freon that’s collected from older units. Due to the low supply, the price of Freon has increased.

Do I Need to Replace My AC Unit If It Uses Freon?

If your air conditioner uses Freon, you don’t need to replace it immediately. There are no laws prohibiting you from using an R-22 system. As long as it’s working well, you don’t need to worry about the refrigerant since it doesn’t need to be routinely topped off.

However, if your AC system develops a leak, your only option to recharge the refrigerant is finding a Rostron Premium Home Services technician with access to the existing supply of Freon. The price of Freon continues to grow since its limited, and it will continue to be difficult to find Freon as more of the supply gets used.

And, no, you can’t simply start using the newer refrigerant type. The system relies on pressure to compress the gas, and the required pressure is different based on the type of refrigerant. You can have your system retrofitted to use the new refrigerant, but it’s likely not a cost-effective option. We can also do a service call and stop the leak, but in the long run it’s better to replace your system. There is no reason to continue to dump money into repair costs, if your unit is older anyway, it might not have much life left before more things start going wrong. Rostron Premium Home services offers FREE estimates for new HVAC systems.

For expert air conditioner service & replacements give us a call. Rostron Premium Home Services, located at 2490 Tiltons Corner Road in Wall Township! 732-223-8221.