Why is The Price of R-22 Phase-out Plan R-22 Refrigerant So High?

Since early January 2012, the price of R-22 refrigerant, which is used in most Air Conditioning systems, has risen over 800% — and we don’t know how high and how fast it will continue to grow. Currently, the market price for R-22 is around $100 per pound. For example, an air conditioner holds approximately (4 Ibs.) per ton. So a 3-ton air conditioner has about 12 lbs of R-22 or roughly $1,200 in R-22 to fill it up.

Here’s Why

R-22 is harmful to our ozone. The US EPA controls the production and import of R-22 . In 2012 to speed up the phase-out of R-22, the EPA set new, lower limits on how much could be produced in the USA. In early 2016 the EPA banned all imports of R-22 into the US.

R-22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). HCFCs were developed as a replacement for chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) because they do not contain chlorine. However, HCFCs are still harmful to the ozone layer. Therefore, the production and import of R-22 is being phased out because of its environmental impact.

In 2012, the US EPA set new, lower limits on how much R-22 could be produced in the USA. In early 2016, the EPA banned all imports of R-22 into the US. These actions are part of a more significant effort to phase out HCFCs.

R-22 is used as a refrigerant in air conditioners and other equipment. If you have equipment that uses R-22, it will eventually need to be replaced or retrofitted with a different type of refrigerant. The phase-out of R-22 will not affect the safety of your equipment.

What’s Next in 2017?

In 2016 the manufacturers were given a production quota of 18 million pounds, and we ended up with shortages by year’s end. However, in 2017 the quota is reduced to only 13 million pounds, a drastic reduction of 5 million pounds of R-22. Significant shortages are unavoidable, and R-22 will be grossly overpriced and not affordable. We have purchased all the R-22 that were available; however, our current inventory will not last more than four months.

R-22 Supplies Very Limited in 2017

Suppliers and distributors are already prepping for the industries’ limited R-22 supply. Suppliers will soon limit the amount of R-22 that any contractor may purchase, thus creating a supply and demand scenario that will fuel significant price increases. Prices are sure to skyrocket, and consumers will have a hard time paying for a commodity that will easily reach $100 per pound in the coming year. We anticipate that this aggressive reduction ruling by the EPA will result in existing inventory to be drawn down at an accelerated rate as A/C contractors attempt to build their stock and hold on to their inventory in anticipation of limited supplies.

Consumers Must Replace Old R-22 Equipment Soon!

Based on the current pricing of R-22 and limited availability, consumers have little recourse but to replace their old inefficient air conditioners before the Mad Rush Begins! Unfortunately, consumers that choose to wait it out will be paying higher prices and may find themselves on a waiting list for their much-needed installation. Time has run out for R-22, and replacing your old Air Conditioner is no longer an option but a simple necessity that you cannot live without!



ECM Air Conditioning, with its headquarters located in Boynton Beach, FL, provides air conditioning services within Palm Beach County, Broward County, Martin County, and St. Lucie County. If you’re looking to have a new HVAC system installed, we’re on-call and ready to assist you. So if you’re in need of an HVAC installation, don’t hesitate to contact us today to schedule an inspection! Our HVAC installation experts will check your ductwork, measure, check wire sizes, and more before making recommendations to ensure maximum efficiency and comfort. Call us at 561-295-1763 or contact our HVAC installation team online by clicking here.


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