Summer is coming and that means grilling, swimming, and warmer weather. It also means air conditioning season and this summer A/C 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 manufacturing of R22 refrigerant has already decreased by 90%. By 2020, production will be banned. Homeowners, as a result, face the challenge 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 air conditioning system. For instance, some refrigerant creators are selling less expensive 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 conducted research that shows these lower cost alternate refrigerants are not compatible with the lubricating oil used in R22 systems,” 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 arrives.
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 adequate for existing systems, though at a much higher cost, giving homeowners time to upgrade air conditioners before the phase-out period.
“Homeowners aren’t required 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, both the outdoor equipment and coil need replacing, and the interconnecting refrigerant tubing needs inspecting. This new equiopment 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 average 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 rising price for R22 to repair older units, 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 ask about your repair or replacement options, call Boehmers/Cronin Emery Service Experts today at 519-804-1617 today.