New Refrigerants in 2023
Since 2010, residential cooling systems have contained a refrigerant called R-410a, a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) that has high global warming potential and could harm the environment if it leaks from a cooling system.
For that reason, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is phasing down the manufacture and importation of HFCs by 85 percent over the next 15 years.
Beginning next year, new cooling systems will contain a refrigerant called R-454b with a lower global warming potential.
This refrigerant is more environment-friendly than its predecessors but also mildly flammable.
What If My Cooling System Uses R-410A?
Although R-410a will be available for equipment repairs over the next few decades, no new air conditioners or heat pumps will contain R-410a beginning in 2023.
You do not have to replace any equipment because of the new refrigerant changes.
A well-maintained AC system will last 15 to 20 years. If you need a new unit, buy it this year. There should be enough R-410a to last the life of your system, but the cost of replacing the refrigerant might creep up eventually if you need a repair.
Can I Retrofit My AC to Use R-454B?
No. Refrigerants operate at different pressures. An R-410a air conditioning or heat pump system will not be calibrated to use R-454b.
Even if you could retrofit your equipment to handle different refrigerants, the cost of doing so would likely approach the price of a new system. Plus, you would more than likely void your existing warranty.
You can save money immediately on utility bills by upgrading today to a high-efficiency system. Plus, you’ll pay less in purchasing costs. Otherwise, wait until 2023 to buy a system with the new refrigerant and SEER ratings.