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 increasing 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 dropped by 90%. By 2020, production will be banned. Homeowners, in turn, face the challenge of whether to repair or to replace their 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 air conditioner. For instance, some refrigerant creators are selling lower price 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 A/C system manufacturers, has conducted research that shows these cheaper 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 HVAC 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 adequate for existing systems, though at a much higher cost, giving homeowners time to upgrade air conditioners before the phase-out period.
“Homeowners don’t have to replace their entire system now, but it’s important for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s essential to know you can’t combine 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 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 common life-span of many home air conditioners is eight to ten 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 systems 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.