Why the Government is Implementing the Phase-Out for R-22 Refrigerant
The government has decided to phase out the use of R-22 in air conditioning units in order to help cut down on the number of harmful gasses that get into the environment. R-22 is also well-known as Freon and is also widely used in many air conditioning units in residential homes and in business. The phase-out is expected to be completed by the year 2020. In order to implement this change, it is expected that the price for R-22 will increase and making it less likely to be chosen over other options. If your air conditioning system currently uses R-22, you will most likely continue to use it as it is until you need to get it repaired. If you get a leak and an HVAC technician repairs it you will then get a refrigerant replacement. Eventually, you will need to replace the system that you are currently using.
Other Options for Refrigerant
The reason that the government has felt it necessary to create the phase-out plan is that it has been discovered that R-22 has been contributing substantially to the deterioration of the ozone layer. It is a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon and R-410A, also known as Puron, is a new refrigerant that will replace R-22. It is also called Suva1900 and GenetronAZ-20. It has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency and has been found not to damage the environment or the ozone layer. The reason that you will most likely need to replace your current refrigeration system is that this new refrigerant requires much higher operating pressures and your older system will most likely not be able to handle this higher pressure. Replacing r-22 in your AC unit with say R-410A, it will most likely develop a leak, and you will need to get it repaired. It is simply not designed to be used with certain heat pumps so if you have a heat pump that was installed before 2010 you will most likely need to get it replaced so that you can switch to a and less environmentally-damaging refrigerant. R-134a is already a refrigerant that is used all over the world and is not damaging to the ozone layer. Another option is the R-407C, also known as Suva407C or Genetron407C and it doesn’t affect the ozone layer of the environment negatively. It is also a fairly easy transition from R-22.
The Best Course of Action to Take
There are a number of things that you can do if you need to service your air conditioning unit. You can either recharge it with a more environmentally-friendly refrigerant if you can find one that is compatible with your unit or you can retrofit it to become compatible with a new and improved refrigerant. Or you can also replace it for a more environmentally-friendly unit, and that is more up-to-date. An HVAC technician will be able to access your air conditioning unit in order to tell you what the best method going forward will be. It is typically more expensive to repair an older air conditioning unit than it is just to replace it with a new one.
The Cost of R-22 is On the Rise
The cost of R-22 is skyrocketing because the EPA has banned its use. It has become more expensive to import and manufacture it, and since manufacturing has gone down to about 50% production, there is less of it. This means that whatever is valuable is going for a much higher price. Its supply was decreased by as much as 4 million pounds in 2016, and it will continue to decline at least by 5 million more pounds in 2017. By 2019 it is expected to be at zero production.
It can cost anywhere from $200 to $300 for a repair as well as a recharge for your A/C system, but if you have an older system that uses R-22, you may find that it is more cost-effective to simply replace it. Other repairs are even more costly and if there is a leak in the tubing, it can be very difficult to pinpoint and can be dangerous to operate. You could also be looking at a repair bill in the thousands if you need to replace pricey parts.
The Benefits of Updating Your Air Conditioning Unit
Besides having less of a negative impact on the environment, you will also gain many benefits when you get rid of the R-22 refrigerant in your air conditioning unit or if you replace it with a newer model. First off, you will notice that you are spending less on your utility bills because your new system will be more energy-efficient. You could be saving as much as 30% on your utility bill which converted into a monetary value would be around $100 every year if your air conditioning unit was installed before 2006. If you have a newer unit, you could still save as much as 7% on your energy bills which adds up in significant savings over even a few years.
You may also gain a rebate on your taxes for installing a more energy efficient and environmentally-friendly system. You will also gain a warranty that will cover the cost of any extra repairs that need to be completed. You could be covered for as many as ten years which can save you hundreds of dollars in repairs. A newer system is also much less likely to have any problems. While repairs will have to come directly out of your pocket when you get a new air containing unit installed you may qualify for financing. The amount that you save will eventually pay for the cost of the unit and will continue to save you money each year that you use it. It is an investment and will ensure that you don’t have to worry about it for many years to come so it will also bring peace of mind. You will also avoid having to go through the inconvenience of waiting for your unit to be repaired while you are waiting for a part to be ordered or for the repair to be completed.
How to Know When You Need to Replace Your Air Conditioning Unit
There are a number of telltale signs that your air conditioner may need to be replaced. If it is more than ten years old, it may be time to replace it. A well-maintained air conditioner will last about 15 years. If it has breakdowns or needs repairs, often you may be saving a substantial amount of money by replacing it. You may also notice that you need to run your air conditioner frequently and it is still not comfortable in your home or business. If it has a low SEER rating, it is likely that it is not energy-efficient and it is costing you a lot of money to run your air conditioning unit. If you get an air conditioning unit that has a SEER rating of at least 13, which is required of all newly manufactured air conditioners you will be saving a substantial amount of money on your energy bills. Air conditioning models have improved over the past few years, and they are much more efficient than they were even a few years ago.