Summer is coming and that means grilling, swimming, and warmer weather. It also means air conditioner season and this summer air conditioner 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 dropped by 90%. By 2020, production will be banned. Homeowners, as a result, face the decision of whether to repair or to replace the 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 creators are selling cheaper alternatives to R22, often called “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those replacements 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 compatible with the lubricating oil used in R22 units,” said Dave Moody, Vice President of Marketing at Service Experts Heating and Air Conditioning. “Recharging older air conditioners with these alternative refrigerants may actually damage the system 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 conditioning systems needing additional R22 refrigerant rise by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to increase as summer approaches.
New air conditioners 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 sufficient 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 good for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s important to know you can’t blend R22 and R410A. When a new R410A system is installed, the outdoor equipment and outdoor coil both need replacing, and the interconnecting refrigerant tubing needs inspecting. This new equipment is often far more energy-efficient and can significantly save on energy costs, sound pollution, or even utilize alternative energy sources like solar energy.”
The average 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 units, versus upgrading. Additional 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 greater home comfort through more advanced technology.
To ask about your repair or replacement choices, call Boehmers/Cronin Emery Service Experts today at 519-804-1617 today.