It has been mandated that R-22 refrigerant be completely phased out in 2020 because it is considered an environmental danger because it contributes to the depletion of the Ozone Layer.
However the effects of this phase out are already being felt by homeowners across the country, as supplies or R22 have been reduced the cost for New R22 has skyrocketed, and as supply levels are decreased each year the cost will continue to rise and it may become harder to find especially the later it gets into the Air Conditioner season each year.
This leads me to generally recommend a couple of things, First, if you have an older R-22 system, you may want to start setting aside some money for its eventual replacement. With the increased cost of your coolant, I would strongly urge you to consider unit replacement rather than making any significant investments on repairs to an R22 system at this point. The good news on that front is that today’s new A/C units are much more efficient and you can expect to find in most cases at least a 20% savings in the cost to cool you home.
The second is if you want to try and maximize the lifecycle of your current A/C unit I would recommend getting an additive treatment that includes a stop leak agent as well as a lubricant designed to lubricate your system creating a quieter unit, and protecting the compressor while reducing energy usage. This will help maximize the life of your A/C unit as well as introducing the stop leak agent that remains inert in your system until it is exposed to leaking refrigerant at which time it will chemically weld itself together at the leak site. This will help eliminate some, but not all possible system leaks.
Of course, you can always talk to your technician or give us a call to talk about your options and to put a plan in place for you!
Thanks for the question!