Is R-22 Still available in 2021?
Good question. The sort answer is yes however the supply seems to be very limited and it is costly. Once R-22 is not available you still have other options. For example if you are 2lbs low on a 5lb system the r-22 can be recovered and refilled with a replacement refrigerant like Nu-22 which is not going away any time soon. Although I am a licensed HVAC contractor I only repair HVAC equipment. That being said one of the main reasons I recommend replacing older equipment is when you have an unmanageable refrigerant leak. If your unit uses the old r-22 refrigerant and its leaking you have less options than if it uses the new r-410 refrigerant. The best indication that your system is leaking is if everything seems to mechanically be running but the air is not cool or less cool than you remember. If you are low on r-22 you are leaking. Most leaks occur in the evaporator coil that gets cold and often times the only permanent solution is to replace the coil. If the unit is over 10 years old I recommend replacing both the outside condensing unit and inside evaporator coil at the same time. If its over 15 years old I recommend replacing the evaporator coil, condensing unit, and furnace at the same time. Before deciding to go down that route I would recommend refilling the A/C with with R-22 and adding a stop leak. This is by far the most affordable option. Often times I'll come back years later to a unit I refilled and sealed with a stop leak for an unrelated problem and there is no noticeable loss of refrigerant. The stop leak sealant works best with slow leaks. If it takes more than a month to leak out less than half of the refrigerant this is what I consider a slow leak. However its often hard to know when the leak started.
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