R22 refrigerant can still be bought since it can be recycled from existing sources.
When an HVAC service technicians turns in bottles of old R22 taken from an old system it is recycled by cleaning and filtering, making it ready for reuse.
Example R22 on eBay
15 lb lbs R22 Refrigerant Unused Factory Sealed Made in USA Same Day Shipping
Since the R22 supply has been dwindling since 1995 the prices match this and have been going up. The restrictions on R22 doesn’t mean supplies are going to run out but the prices will continue to go up.
So Where Do You Buy R22?
R22 can be bought at HVAC supply stores, HVAC service companies, and online.
Personally, I would never buy from an HVAC repair company since they always mark up the prices. HVAC supply companies also mark up prices but less so.
To get the best prices buying online is hands down the best option. To give an example I live in a rural area where the closest HVAC supply store is 60 miles away. This can be a real pain when you need parts or refrigerant. I can order the refrigerant from an HVAC supplier which they will deliver but the cost goes up. If I drive to the supplier it is $40 dollars a pound and if it is delivered it is $60 a pound.
That means a standard 30 pound bottle at my local HVAC supply store cost $1200-$1800.
Of course, to buy R22 an EPA certification card will be needed (or a letter of intent to resale whatever that means) but this isn’t as hard as it seems. There are four types of certification Type I, Type II, Type III, and universal. The different levels of certification shows what type of HVAC units someone can work on.
Type II, and Type III require a test to be proctored meaning someone checks your ID, watches you and makes sure it is you taking the test.
Type I EPA certification does not require a test to be proctored and can be taken online, open book, which will allow anyone to buy refrigerant.
You will technically only be able to work on units that hold up to 5 pounds of refrigerant but you will be able to buy refrigerant.
You can get certified online for the Type I EPA exam at Mainstream Engineering. After you get certified you will be able to buy any type of refrigerant.
If in the future you need the type II or type III certification then be sure to find a Mainstream Engineering testing location so you don’t have to retake the Type I exam again.
If you only need a few pounds of R22 refrigerant then having a service tech do it for you will make the most sense, but if you have rentals or multiple homes that use R22 buying your own refrigerant is a great way to save money.