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Refrigerants, new regulations, and what you need to know

(NC) You may have heard that Canada is phasing out ozone-depleting refrigerants including R-22 (HCFC-22), which is found in the majority of heat pumps and air-conditioning units.

You may also wonder what this means for you. Does your system have R-22? Do you have to replace the refrigerant? Will you need to buy a whole new piece of equipment???

In fact, each one of these options should be considered and as an equipment owner, you need to find out which option is best for your system. Unless your system has been installed in the last few years, it most likely contains R-22. With R-22 refrigerant being phased out over the next 7 years, there will be less R-22 available for service and it is becoming more expensive. Though you can continue to use R-22 for the foreseeable future, you should also look at the options of replacing the type of refrigerant in your current system or replacing the system itself with one that uses a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant.

Another factor you need to consider is that Canadian regulations do not permit new systems containing R22 to be manufactured or imported into Canada.

There are alternative non-ozone-depleting 'drop-in' refrigerants available that can replace the R-22 in your system with a small number of changes to the equipment. If you determine that the system should be replaced, pick a system that uses a newer non-ozone-depleting refrigerant. The most popular refrigerant offered by manufacturers is R410A. Remember to ensure that all system components are changed when you move to the new refrigerant.

The best way to make sound decisions about your air conditioning or heat pump system is discuss your options with a qualified heating and air conditioning contractor, and to have the contractor properly maintain your heating and cooling systems through annual maintenance checks.

To find a qualified HVAC contractor who can guide you in the process, contact the Heating, Refrigeration and Air Conditioning Institute of Canada (HRAI) at http://www.hrai.ca/contractorlocator.php or for more consumer tips and information, visit www.hrai.ca/educationcentre.html

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