Over the years perhaps you have noticed price volatility in the refrigerant market. Price fluctuations can make users feel concerned about whether they are getting fair pricing on their refrigerants, and wonder why the prices are not more stable. Stated simply, the reason refrigerant prices fluctuate is because they are a commodity item.
2016 AHRI Guideline N Specifies Silk Gray on all Refrigerant Containers by 2020
In 2016 some significant changes to refrigerant paint color designations were recommended by the Air-Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigerant Institute (AHRI). In their Guideline N, Assignment of Refrigerant Container Colors, AHRI reversed conventional long-term practice in the industry. Previous AHRI Guidelines had specified industry-standardized Pantone paint colors of all refrigerant gases to help handlers immediately identify gases on sight.
R-22 was the most common refrigerant used in HVAC systems for decades. However, R-22 is a Chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) which has been phased out under the Montreal Protocol since it is an ozone-depleting substance. In fact, starting in 2020, it is illegal to produce R-22 in the United States. Consumers can still operate existing R-22 systems using gas which was produced before 2020 (allowing them to replace aging A/C equipment in an appropriate manner), but R-22 supplies will not last forever. A variety of replacements provide alternatives that can be used without replacing R-22 systems.
The topic of refrigerant has been an ongoing saga since we first announced the phase-out of HCFC R-22 in 2010. There have been numerous rumors circulating throughout the years about what would happen to refrigerant and when it would happen. We have lived through a roller coaster of prices with not only R-22, but with R-410A as well. However, it is important to keep in mind that the value of anything in the world is only what you can find someone willing to pay for it. So, here we are in 2019, and I am not sure we have any better grasp on where we are headed than we did nearly ten years ago.