Summer is coming and that means grilling, baseball, and warmer weather. It also means cooling season and this summer air conditioner repairs will come with skyrocketing costs for the refrigerant R22, more commonly known as Freon™.
We discussed the R22 phase out earlier this year, and creation of R22 refrigerant has already decreased by 90%. By 2020, production will be prohibited. Homeowners now 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 air conditioner. For instance, some refrigerant producers are selling cheaper alternatives to R22, often described as “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those substitutes are cheaper only in the short run.
“Lennox®, one of the leading air conditioning manufacturers, has offered 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 might actually damage the equipment 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 heating and air conditioning 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 keep increasing as summer gets closer.
New air conditioners 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 satisfactory for existing systems, of course 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 good for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s crucial to know you can’t mix 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 equipment is often far more energy-efficient and can considerably save on energy costs, sound pollution, or even utilize alternative energy sources like solar energy.”
The typical life-span of many home A/C systems 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 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 better home comfort through more advanced technology.
To find out about your repair or replacement alternatives, call Midland Air Service Experts today at 803-399-7208 today.