What You Should Consider If Your AC Uses R-22

refrigerantThe 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 the mandatory phase-out of the R-22 refrigerant by the U.S. government. With this phase-out, you may have no other choice but to replace your older AC with a newer unit.

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When Will R-22 Be Banned In The U.S.?

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 regulations that will control and eventually eliminate its use. The target for this is January 1st, 2020. Beyond this, manufacturing and importing R-22 will be considered illegal.

Can You Still Buy R-22 In The U.S.?

R-22 is still available from most dealers until the end of the year. There is a catch, though. The chemical is expected to carry a significantly higher R-22 refrigerant price tag. Why? For the simple reason of supply and demand, the production of R-22 will become severely limited, but 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 – this, for a home air conditioning system that you probably bought 5 or 10 years ago. The price could even go higher than that for larger AC systems. Soon, you will have to decide between keeping an older system that costs thousands of dollars to recharge or upgrade your cooling system to a more efficient unit.

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So how does the phase-out of R-22 affect you? By January 2020, homeowners whose air conditioning systems use R-22 are likely to run out of options when the units eventually require a refrigerant recharge. If you need a recharge, consider taking advantage of the lower air conditioner prices in 2019, especially if your home air conditioning system is at least 10-15 years old.

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Why Is R-22 Being Phased Out From Circulation?

environmentally friendly refrigerantWhile R22 is an effective coolant, R-22 negatively effects the environment due to its components. R-22 contains HCFCs or hydrochlorofluorocarbons.[1] 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.[2] 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.

Which Is More Energy Efficient? R-22 Or R-410a?

R-22
R-410a
The refrigerant used in older cooling systems.
A new type of coolant by the brand named Puron.
R-22 is not as energy efficient. It can absorb and release heat in a lesser amount.
It can absorb and release heat efficiently which makes it more competent as a refrigerant.
Causes damage to the environment and the ozone layer.
Is the more eco-friendly option.
Not used in newly-manufactured air conditioners.
Is used in modern air conditioning systems.
Adds to the reduction of the ozone layer.
Does not contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer.
R-22 refrigerant prices are increasing and are very expensive.
You can avoid the risk of cooling system problems due to tougher and durable air conditioner parts.

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 affect 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 cost that can actually be avoided. It is far better to invest in a high-efficiency cooling system to cut on monthly expenses.

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 2019 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.

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What Is The Price Of R-22 Per Pound And Why Is It So Expensive?

cost of r22The main reason for the increase in the price tag is the impending 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 year, 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.

AC Savings And The HVAC Tax Credit

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.[3]

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.

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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.

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[1] Phaseout of Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) (https://www.epa.gov/ods-phaseout)
[2] Ozone depletion, explained (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/ozone-depletion/)
[3] US Department of Energy (https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/central-air-conditioning)