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Northeast HVAC News Guest Column

VP of Vitt Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc. Offers Insight Into EPAís R-22 Phaseout.


In response to the EPA's proposed final phaseout of R-22, a key refrigerant used in HVAC systems, Jeffrey Vitt of Vitt Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc. explains how his industry will be affected.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is calling for the gradual phasing out of R-22 production, with production allowances gradually decreasing from now until reaching 0 in 2020.

R-22, whose full name is virgin hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC)-22, is a refrigerant traditionally used in heating, ventilating and air conditioning (HVAC) systems. It's also a highly-powerful greenhouse gas, which is why many developed nations are gradually phasing it out in pursuit of alternative refrigerants.

According to The News (12/30/2013), the EPA's phaseout timeline establishes an R-22 production allowance of 30 million pounds in 2015, 24 million pounds in 2016, 18 million pounds in 2017, 12 million pounds in 2018, 6 million pounds in 2019 and eventually zero in 2020.

Jeffrey Vitt, Vice President of Vitt Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc., says the EPA's phaseout timeline will have drastic impacts on the HVAC industry as a whole due to its long-time reliance on the refrigerant.

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"A large majority of HVAC systems utilize that type of refrigerant," Vitt says. "It has been widely used for over 50 years, so to have zero R-22 all of a sudden would drive the cost of the remaining R-22 through the roof."

However, Vitt says his company has been working toward adapting to alternative refrigerants for a long time, meaning Vitt Heating & Cooling plans on being prepared for the R-22 phaseout.

"For the last 10 years, we have been instructing customers to go with the new environmentally-friendly refrigerant," Vitt says. "New refrigerant is lower in cost, because the supply is plentiful."

For HVAC customers who still have systems that use R-22, Vitt recommends getting a full replacement of their heating and cooling systems sooner rather than later.

"Ultimately, the best option long term for the customer who has a system that leaks refrigerant is to upgrade their system," he says. "It will save them money in the long run, as they won't have the inflated cost of R-22, as well as the savings on utilities they'll enjoy by utilizing more energy-efficient products. We also offer replacement refrigerants for units that utilize R-22, but they affect the capacity of the units slightly. In most cases, this won't be a problem, but the customer should be aware either way."

About Vitt Heating & Air Conditioning Co., Inc.
Vitt Heating & Air Conditioning has been in business since 1954, providing the St. Louis community with heating and air services ever since. Always remember that itís never to early to be thinking about the next season and getting a St. Louis furnace repair done. For more information, please visit http://vittheating.com.
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