New air-conditioning law could cost consumers cold cash

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — A new government regulation could cost you thousands of dollars to cool your home, causing homeowners to choose between their wallets and the environment.

The freon-brand air conditioning refrigerant known as R-22 will be banned starting Jan. 1, 2020, making it illegal to be manufactured in the United States or even be imported.

“There is some chemistry that happens in upper atmosphere that destroys ozone,” said environmental consultant Adam Hoyles. “There is a price that compound creates for environment, that’s not worth continuing to  use it.”


But there's a price to pay if you want to replace your unit.

It may run you at least $5,000.

Your other option is to load up on R-22 right now while it's still legal, but the problem is the price has soared.

“It’s $100 per pound, if you  can get it,” said Snyder Air Conditioning technician Mike Whittenberg.

The last R-22 units were made in 2010, but experts say they can last at least 15 years with proper maintenance.

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According to the Environmental Protection Agency, consumers do not have to get a new unit with the phaseout.

The EPA also says you can still purchase R-22 as long as it was made prior to the new year and is shipped within the U.S.

Homeowner Sam Libby is replacing his unit and has his own reasons for cooling on R-22 and it has nothing to do with the environment.

“It’s just so I can get 20 more years of not fixing anything,” said Libby.