Summer is on the horizon and that means backyard barbeques, pool time, and warmer weather. It also means cooling season and this summer A/C repairs will come with skyrocketing 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 gone down by 90%. By 2020, production will be discontinued. Homeowners now face the decision of whether to repair or to replace their system using R22 refrigerant from both a budget and environmental perspective.
The R22 phase out has added new variables to consider if you are thinking about repairing or replacing your A/C system. For instance, some refrigerant producers are selling less expensive alternatives to R22, often called “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those alternatives are cheaper only in the short run.
“Lennox®, one of the leading air conditioning manufacturers, has conducted research that shows these cheaper alternate refrigerants are not capable of working with the lubricating oil used in R22 systems,” said Dave Moody, Vice President of Marketing at Service Experts Heating and Air Conditioning. “Recharging older A/C systems with these alternative refrigerants may actually damage the system and create more costly 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 go up by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to keep increasing as summer arrives.
New A/C systems use the more environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant, a different refrigerant that cannot be mixed or used in an existing A/C 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 systems before the phase-out period.
“Homeowners don’t have to replace their equipment now, but it’s important for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s essential to know you can’t combine 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 significantly 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 8 to 10 years, which will help homeowners determine the cost benefit of either paying the premium 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 systems will also have longer warranty periods, calmer 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 Freschi Service Experts today at 925-384-1303 today.