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What You Should Know About Counterfeit R-22 Coolants

August 25, 2016

The heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) industry is phasing out R-22 coolants for use with residential and commercial air conditioning systems. R-22, has been the coolant of choice since it replaced R-40 as a more ozone-friendly refrigerant. Over the next few years, A/C companies will slowly stop using R-22 for the same reason in exchange for newer, more environmentally friendly coolants.

This phase-out is making R-22 more difficult to find today and more expensive for contractors to use. Unfortunately for home and business owners, this provides an opportunity for scammers to sell cheaper R-22 alternatives”(e.g., counterfeit R-22) to contractors. These coolant alternatives are actually unsafe chemical cocktails that can prove life threatening under the wrong circumstances.

Counterfeit R-22 Floods The HVAC Market

HVAC contractors looking to save money at their customers’ expense might buy illegally imported R-22 knockoffs from China or elsewhere. While there are plenty of genuine, viable alternatives to R-22, counterfeit products can be flammable, explosive, and even deadly. Counterfeit R-22 can be made up of fatal chemical blends such as R-40, R-134a, and other refrigerants containing methyl chloride or chloromethane. When exposed to air, heat, and/or moisture, these volatile chemicals can cause violent reactions.

There have been several cases of marine refrigerated containers exploding and causing major material damage as well as operator deaths. These explosions were the result of counterfeit R-22 substitutes containing dangerous combinations of coolants. While reports of fires and explosions are rare, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has reported cases in the United States and abroad of people suffering injury after using unapproved air conditioner coolants.

Preventing An R-22 Refrigerant Scam

Pumping your A/C system with counterfeit coolants can expose your home, family, or business to several dangers. Not only does counterfeit R-22 put you at risk of severe HVAC system damage, including charred or melted components, but you also risk a fire, explosion, and injury. Keep your system safe and up to code by being coolant-savvy with your technician.

Check the labels on the refrigerants your heating and air conditioning company uses before allowing workers to replace your coolant. Verify that the label is a trustworthy brand, such as DuPont or any other legitimate company, and clearly states R-22” not “R-22a,” “HC-12a,” or another non-EPA approved coolant name. Ask to see your technician’s certification, and choose a different company if they don’t let you.

Certified Technicians Are The Only Option

When you need a trustworthy, responsible heating and air conditioning company in the Greater Los Angeles area for coolant replacement, trust Brody Pennell. Our HVAC technicians are expertly trained to provide top-notch service, helping local homes and businesses with their A/C needs for over 50 years. We also use name-brand R-22 coolant for repairs and won’t hesitate to show you our EPA certification. Contact us online or call today to set up an appointment.

About The Author

Brody Pennell

Since 1945, Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning is the committed to helping homeowners in the greater Los Angeles area experience total home comfort. In 2021, the readers of the Los Angeles Times voted Brody Pennell the Best HVAC Company in the area.

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