Summer is almost here and that means grilling, swimming, and warmer weather. It also means cooling season and this summer air conditioner repairs will come with increasing costs for the refrigerant R22, more commonly known as Freon™.
We discussed the R22 phase out earlier this year, and production of R22 refrigerant has already dropped by 90%. By 2020, production will be discontinued. Homeownersnow face the choice of whether to repair or to replace their system using R22 refrigerant from both a financial and environmental perspective.
The R22 phase out has added new variables if you are considering repairing or replacing your A/C system. For instance, some refrigerant producers are selling lower price alternatives to R22, often called “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those alternatives are cheaper only in the short run.
“Lennox®, one of the leading air conditioner manufacturers, has conducted research that shows these less expensive 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 A/C systems with these alternative refrigerants may actually damage the equipment and create more high-cost problems. These so called drop-in refrigerants will also void any applicable manufacturer’s warranty.”
Because of the R22 phase out, the HVAC industry is seeing the cost to repair older air conditioners needing additional R22 refrigerant rise by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to continue to increase as summer approaches.
New air conditioning systems use the more environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant, a different refrigerant that cannot be combined 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, albeit at a much higher cost, providing time to upgrade equipment before the phase-out period.
“Homeowners aren’t required to replace their equipment now, but it’s good for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s crucial to know you can’t mix 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. This new equipment is often far more energy-efficient and can considerably 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 eight to ten years, which will help homeowners determine the cost benefit of either paying the premium price for R22 to repair older units, versus upgrading. More benefits to upgrading include the opportunity to take advantage of energy rebates being offered and enhancing your home’s energy-efficiency. New units will also have longer warranty periods, quieter operation, and the peace of mind of a more ozone-friendly refrigerant, not to mention better home comfort through more advanced technology.
To learn more about your repair or replacement options, call Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing today at 866-397-3787 today.
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