Summer is on the horizon and that means backyard barbeques, baseball, and warmer weather. It also means air conditioning season and this summer air conditioning system repairs will come with rising costs for the refrigerant R22, more commonly known as Freon™.
We talked to you about the R22 phase out earlier this year, and production of R22 refrigerant has already gone down by 90%. By 2020, production will be prohibited. Homeownersnow face the decision of whether to repair or to replace the system using R22 refrigerant from both a money and environmental perspective.
The R22 phase out has added new factors to consider if you are thinking about repairing or replacing your A/C system. For instance, some refrigerant creators are selling cheaper alternatives to R22, often referred to as “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those substitutes are cheaper only in the short run.
“Lennox®, one of the leading air conditioner manufacturers, has offered research that shows these lower cost alternate refrigerants are not capable of working with the lubricating oil used in R22 units,” said Dave Moody, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Service Experts Heating and Air Conditioning. “Recharging older air conditioning systems with these alternative refrigerants could actually damage the equipment and create more high-cost problems. These so called drop-in refrigerants will also invalidate any applicable manufacturer’s warranty.”
Because of the R22 phase out, the HVAC industry is seeing the cost to repair older A/C equipment needing additional R22 refrigerant go up by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to increase as summer approaches.
New air conditioning systems use the more environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant, a different refrigerant that cannot be mixed or used in an existing air conditioner or heat pump designed for R22. Currently, reclamation and recycling of R22 is expected to be satisfactory for existing systems, though at a much higher cost, giving homeowners time to upgrade systems before the phase-out period.
“Homeowners don’t need to replace their air conditioner now, but it’s good for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s important to know you can’t combine R22 and R410A. When a new R410A system is installed, both the outdoor equipment and coil need replacing, and the interconnecting refrigerant tubing needs inspecting. These new units are often far more energy-efficient and can significantly save on energy costs, sound pollution, or even utilize alternative energy sources like solar energy.”
The typical life-span of many home air conditioning systems is 8 to 10 years, which will help homeowners determine the cost benefit of either paying the increasing price for R22 to repair older systems, versus upgrading. Further benefits to upgrading include the opportunity to take advantage of energy rebates being offered and upgrading your home’s energy-efficiency. New units will also have longer warranty periods, calmer operation, and the peace of mind of a more ozone-friendly refrigerant, not to mention improved home comfort through more advanced technology.
To find out about your repair or replacement choices, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today at 866-397-3787 today.
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