Summer is almost here and that means backyard barbeques, baseball, and warmer weather. It also means air conditioning season and this summer A/C 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 creation of R22 refrigerant has already dropped by 90%. By 2020, production will be prohibited. Homeowners, as a result, face the choice of whether to repair or to replace the system using R22 refrigerant from both a budget 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 lower price alternatives to R22, often described as “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those alternatives 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 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 conditioners with these alternative refrigerants could actually damage the unit and create more expensive 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 increase 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 conditioning system or heat pump designed for R22. Currently, reclamation and recycling of R22 is expected to be sufficient for existing systems, albeit at a much higher cost, providing 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 important 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. This new equipment is 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 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 improving 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 ask about your repair or replacement choices, call Peachtree Service Experts today at 678-235-9699 today.