Summer is on the horizon and that means cookouts, baseball, and warmer weather. It also means air conditioning season and this summer air conditioning system repairs will come with skyrocketing costs for the refrigerant R22, more commonly known as Freon™.
We told you about the R22 phase out earlier this year, and production of R22 refrigerant has already decreased by 90%. By 2020, production will be banned. Homeowners, in turn, face the decision of whether to repair or to replace a system using R22 refrigerant from both a money and environmental perspective.
The R22 phase out has added new variables if you are considering repairing or replacing your air conditioner. For instance, some refrigerant creators 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 A/C system manufacturers, has provided research that shows these lower cost alternate refrigerants are not able to work with the lubricating oil used in R22 equipment,” said Dave Moody, Vice President of Marketing at Service Experts Heating and Air Conditioning. “Recharging older air conditioning systems with these alternative refrigerants may actually damage the system and create more high-cost problems. These so called drop-in refrigerants will also nullify any applicable manufacturer’s warranty.”
Because of the R22 phase out, the heating and cooling industry is seeing the cost to repair older A/C equipment needing additional R22 refrigerant rise by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to continue to increase as summer gets closer.
New A/C 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 sufficient for existing systems, though at a much higher cost, providing time to upgrade air conditioners before the phase-out period.
“Homeowners don’t have to replace their equipment now, but it’s helpful for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s essential to know you can’t mix R22 and R410A. When a new R410A system is installed, both the outdoor coil and equipment need replacing, and the interconnecting refrigerant tubing needs inspecting. These newer systems are often far more energy-efficient and can seriously save on energy costs, sound pollution, or even utilize alternative energy sources like solar energy.”
The common life-span of many home air conditioners is 8 to 10 years, which will help homeowners determine the cost benefit of either paying the rising 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 enhancing your home’s energy-efficiency. New equipment will also have longer warranty periods, quieter 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 alternatives, call Bob Brown Service Experts today at 623-243-4517 today.