The central air conditioning system is easily one of the most overlooked components of a building. Because it is out of the way, people tend to ignore it until it breaks down or starts showing problems. This is unfortunate because we rely on HVAC systems to keep our home comfortable, particularly during extreme weather.
If your air conditioner is starting to fail and is older than 15 years, you will have a decision to make: you can either repair the system or have it replaced. Another reason why you might want to look at your cooling system carefully is because of the R-22 phase-out by the U.S. government. This phase-out was finalized on January 1, 2020, making it illegal to produce or import in the United States. Therefore, with this phase-out, you will have no choice but to replace your older AC or to pay for a hefty AC repair bill when faced with a refrigerant leak.
R-22 is a chemical compound categorized as a coolant. It is used with air conditioning systems to produce cool air. R-22 was the standard among manufacturers of cooling systems due to its efficacy and reliability as a coolant. However, R-22 was proven to cause environmental issues, prompting the government to implement regulation controls. The final date for this target for this was January 1st, 2020. After this date, manufacturing and importing R-22 was illegal. It is not illegal to use an R22 unit. However, these units are generally on their way out due to old age and wear and tear. Essentially, R22 units are quickly approaching the end of their lifespan.
Currently, R-22 is still available from most dealers. There is a catch, though. The chemical is expected to carry a significantly higher R-22 refrigerant price tag. Why? The availability of R-22 is severely limited for the simple reason of supply and demand. Furthermore, the need for the coolant will remain the same or even increase as some ACs continue to age. In worst-case scenarios, a single recharge could go as high as $2000. The price could even go higher than that for larger AC systems. These homeowners will have to decide between keeping an older system (that costs thousands of dollars to recharge) or upgrade their cooling system to a more efficient unit.
If you need assistance in assessing your current cooling system, call Tower Energy today for a free consultation.
So how does the phase-out of R-22 affect you? If you are one of the homeowners whose air conditioning system uses R-22, then you may face a refrigerant leak which is common with aging units. Therefore, you too will have to make the difficult choice between an expensive R22 top-off and an upgrade. You should consider taking advantage of the lower air conditioner prices, especially if your home air conditioning system is at least 10-15 years old.
While R22 is an effective coolant, R-22 negatively effects the environment due to its components. R-22 contains HCFCs or hydrochlorofluorocarbons. When these molecules come in contact with the air, they cause damage to the ozone layer. The ozone layer acts as a protective shield. When it is damaged, everything on the earth’s surface becomes susceptible to the harmful effects of ultraviolet radiation. There is some good news, however. In recent years, it was discovered that the hole in the ozone layer shrank years after ozone-depleting substances such as HCFCs and other ozone-depleting substances were banned or minimized in countries around the world. By shifting your air conditioning system to one that does not require the R-22 coolant, you can actually help the environment. A better air conditioning system would be one that uses Puron or R-410a, an alternative refrigerant to R-22.
Furthermore, HVAC systems begin to show signs of deterioration as aging sets in. Dirt, dust, and other particulates settle on the surface and reduce its efficiency. Friction due to wear and tear also affects the performance of the system. The buildup of pressure can also lead to cracks, which eventually make way to leaks. Although older air conditioners are still capable of keeping a home cool, they will consume more energy to do so. This leads to unnecessary costs that can actually be avoided. It is far better to invest in a high-efficiency cooling system to cut on monthly expenses and improve your comfort levels.
New HVAC technology also continues to improve and produce better heating and cooling equipment. If you consider everything from the perspective of efficiency coupled with functionality, a 2005 AC system will not be able to compete with a current model. A newer system will be far more superior in terms of performance. Plus, it will make more sense economically compared to an older home air conditioning unit.
The main reason for the increase in the price tag is the phase-out and ban of R-22. This phaseout has stopped manufacturers from producing this compound. With the low supply and the same level (or even higher) demand, the r-22 refrigerant prices have nowhere to go but up.
If the current air conditioning system you have at home is leaking or if you are running low on refrigerant, you will have to face an exorbitantly high repair bill in the summer months. If, on the other hand, your AC unit would require repair late in the season, there is a huge chance you will be paying even more. We expect the price of the R-22 coolant to increase steadily through the seasons as its supply dwindles.
To encourage homeowners to upgrade their cooling systems, the government offers perks for new HVAC unit buyers by way of tax breaks. These tax breaks can help homeowners defray part of the cost of buying a new cooling system. If you want to know more about how to compute for the tax break, the Air Conditioning Contractors of America or ACCA has more information you can use.
Generally, how much you can save on a new purchase will depend on the SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating of the new unit. A higher rating offers more savings, usually in the form of tax credits, incentives, and rebates. Higher SEER ratings also mean better efficiency, which leads to lower operational costs for your home.
A higher SEER rating also means more comfort for every dollar you spend on energy. Modern air conditioners, for example, use about 30%-50% less energy while providing the same comfort (or even better) compared to air conditioners made decades before.
If you need to know more about tax breaks offered in your locality and find out about money-saving offers that come with HVAC upgrades in Connecticut, call us today for your in-home HVAC assessment at no cost to you.
Tower Energy is a leading authority in the HVAC industry, providing affordable and reliable HVAC services to both commercial and residential properties. We offer exceptional work to ensure that we meet and exceed your heating and cooling requirements, from installations and repairs to tune-ups and maintenance work.
We offer the best in terms of efficiency and friendly service at affordable prices. To find out about the types of HVAC systems we offer, call us at Tower Energy today. Our HVAC technicians will meet you for a free consultation and discuss your requirements to ensure that your needs are met. The best cooling solution is waiting for you to discover. Call us today.
 Phaseout of Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) (https://www.epa.gov/ods-phaseout)
 Ozone depletion, explained (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/ozone-depletion/)
 US Department of Energy (https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/central-air-conditioning)