What is R-22?

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R22 refrigerant What is R 22? An air conditioner works by making using of refrigerant gases that draw heat from an area and then expel it elsewhere. This can cool down a building by dozens of degrees and make summers much more comfortable all around the world. Originally, air conditioners depended on gases known as CFCs to provide the refrigerant and no one thought this was a problem. It was not until numerous studies were done that the danger became apparent.

By the 1970’s, everyone was in general agreement that CFCs were dangerous. Scientists estimated that if current CFC use continued the ozone would continue to deplete at an alarming rate. This would be disastrous for life on our planet, since it is the ozone layer that protects us from the sun’s most harmful radiation. Action was taken and, at the Montreal Conference, most of the industrialized nations of the world agreed to discontinue the use of and slowly phase out harmful CFCs.

Of course, while everyone wanted to get rid of CFCs, they also wanted to enjoy the satisfying comfort of a cool home on a hot day. Scientists set to work and began researching alternatives to CFCs. One of the first they hit upon was R-22 refrigerant. R-22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). Unfortunately, R-22 refrigerant does have some ozone depleting effects, but far less than the previous generation of CFCs and was chosen as the intermediate refrigerant until something better could be found. R-22 served well enough to get the civilized world through sweltering summer until the much superior R-410A could be developed. Today, R-22 refrigerant is still in use in some limited applications, but, as per the tenets of the Montreal Protocol, is steadily being phased out. By 2020 it be almost totally gone in the United States and most of the First World Nations.

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