Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioning System?
Summer is almost here and that means grilling, pool time, and warmer weather. It also means air conditioning season and this summer A/C repairs will come with rising costs for the refrigerant R22, more commonly known as Freon™.
We talked to you about the R22 phase out earlier this year, and manufacturing of R22 refrigerant has already dropped by 90%. By 2020, production will be banned. Homeowners, as a result, face the choice of whether to repair or to replace their system using R22 refrigerant from both a money and environmental perspective.
The R22 phase out has added new factors to consider if you are thinking about repairing or replacing your air conditioner. For instance, some refrigerant producers are selling less expensive alternatives to R22, often referred to as “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those alternatives 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 capable of working with the lubricating oil used in R22 equipment,” said Dave Moody, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Service Experts Heating and Air Conditioning. “Recharging older A/C systems with these alternative refrigerants may actually damage the equipment and create more expensive problems. These so called drop-in refrigerants will also nullify 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 increase by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to keep increasing as summer arrives.
New air conditioning systems use the more environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant, a different refrigerant that cannot be blended or used in an existing air conditioning system or heat pump designed for R22. Currently, reclamation and recycling of R22 is expected to be sufficient for existing systems, of course at a much higher cost, providing time to upgrade equipment before the phase-out period.
“Homeowners aren’t required to replace their entire system now, but it’s helpful for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s crucial 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. These new units are 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 A/C systems is eight to ten years, which will help homeowners determine the cost benefit of either paying the increasing 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 upgrading your home’s energy-efficiency. New systems will also have longer warranty periods, smoother operation, and the peace of mind of a more ozone-friendly refrigerant, not to mention better home comfort through more advanced technology.
To learn more about your repair or replacement choices, call Stallion Heating and Air Conditioning today at 215-259-5850 today.
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