The Clean Air Act & The ban on Freon

The Clean was Air Act is a federal law that was enacted in the 1970s to protect people against air pollutants generated by both stationary and mobile sources. The law gives the Environmental Protection Agency power to form National Ambient Air Quality Standards (NAAQS) to protect the health and welfare of the public and to implement certain regulations related to the emissions of potentially hazardous air pollutants.

NAAQS and SIPs

One of the primary goals of the Act is to examine the impact of certain widespread air pollutants and enforce regulations to address these risks and protect the public. The Act requires the development of state-specific implementation plans (SIPs) for industrial sources. The Act was ultimately amended in 1977 and 1990 to establish a new set of standards for achieving NAAQS since many states had trouble meeting the established deadlines.

Pollution Sources

The Clean Air Act sets standards for addressing emissions and hazardous air pollutants. It states that any stationary source or sources that emit at least 10 tons per year of a hazardous air pollutant or at least 25 tons of multiple hazardous air pollutants, must follow specific technology-based standards. These emission standards are commonly known as “maximum achievable control technology (MACT)” standards. Once MACT standards have been assigned to a new source, the EPA is required to review those standards every eight years, to look for potential residual risks for that category, and determine if a revised set of standards is required to properly address the risk.

What to Know About the Freon Ban

The EPA has recently issued a ban on the use of freon, after classifying the chemical as an ozone-depleting substance. While this does not mean that homeowners will have to immediately replace their current HVAC systems, it does mean import and manufacturing of freon products will cease. Eventually, the existing supply will fade away in the United States.

So how does this directly affect you? The bottom line is that eventually, your HVAC system will need to be replaced with an updated unit that uses a refrigerant source other than freon. In some cases, it is possible that your current HVAC system can be upgraded to use an alternative source of refrigerant. On the other hand, not all HVAC systems use freon as a coolant.

The best thing to do is to have Cascade Mechanical check what kind of coolant your system uses. When you’re ready, our qualified technicians can update or replace your HVAC unit. Contact our team today to schedule an appointment!