R-22 freon - a warning for landlords

FYI, landlords. 80% of the households in this country still use R-22 freon in their A/C equipment, and of course lots of those homes are rentals. The wholesale cost of freon in the last couple months has gone up 100% … and is now selling for $350 to $385 on average per 30lb container in Dallas. The EPA is making it illegal, slowly but surely. You can get it cheaper on places like Craigslist, so stock up while you can. Your A/C service calls will be skyrocketing in price … as long as you have R-22 equipment … and by stocking up on R-22 freon itself, you can reduce the costs of your future service calls by having the A/C man use YOUR freon!!! Note you that technically you should be EPA 608 certified to buy freon, though many landlords do it anyway. And you do not need to be certified to buy used or new R-22 equipment, because it is not charged with freon 99% of the time (note you can still buy new R-22 equipment, but it is filled with something like dry hydrogen).

Believe it or not, there are drop-in coolants to replace R-22. One that has already been approved by the EPA is something called NU-22B. Lots of A/C supply houses already have it. Also see http://www.icorinternational.com/nu22b.html - note it uses the same oil as R-22 even! And there is also R-290, which is another good drop in replacement. It is not yet approved by the EPA for use in the United States, however you can use it because it’s actually a non-regulated coolant. See http://www.es-refrigerants.com/products/details.asp?id=45&t=22a-refrigerant&Trying=ON ---- note that similar coolants are already widespread in Europe and other coolants approved by the EPA are actually hydrocarbon blends … ie NU-22B.

R410a is only $149 for a 25lb can. buy now while its cheap.

Most of landlords are using R-22 freon it may be create difficulties for them. So it is necessary that you avoid to use them and replace it from your house immediately if you are still using it.

I have nearly 1/2 a pallet of R22, so I am set for years and years to come.

Yes, 410a is cheap. My local supply house has it for $115 per 25lb container. It may go up a little bit, but it will not be going up in price like R22 because it is not being phased out.

And…it is smart to convert your equipment to 410a as it dies, especially if you are lucky enough to have your air handler and your outside condenser go out about the same time. But do not be in any hurry to replace your equipment unless you need to. That’s an unnecessary capital expense…so its just dumb, in other words. ALSO…you can get R-22 equipment USED for next to nothing, and when used with R-22 or alternative refrigerants it can work GREAT for many years to come.

I have successfully used Icor’s NU-22B with great success. All you have to do is get your A/C man to evacuate the R-22 from system (I had a leak in one unit so it was almost entirely done naturally, haha), install a new filter drier, get the system ready (create a vacuum/remove moisture and air), and install NU-22B. The place actually gets colder than it did before! The tenant loved how it worked.

NU-22B is not going anywhere, anytime soon. So we’ll always have an alternative to R-22.

And I personally know some apartment complex owners who have converted to the hydrocarbon-based coolants with success. But I am not ready to do so myself yet

R-22 is being phased out and price continues to climb. Currently 30lb cylinders are $330 ea. and I wouldn’t be surprised to see it $500/cylinder in another year. The EPA has limited it’s production cutting back year-year and there is a ton of installed R-22 units both commercial and residential.

R-410a will be cheap going forward and I’ve seen $85 25lb cylinder.

If I were buying a heatpump or AC I’d make sure it is R-410a.