Your Air Conditioner and the R-22 Dilemma
If your AC unit has had issues, not working properly or it needs freon each year, it could be a costly endeavor this year. R-22 or chlorodifluoromethane (no wonder they call is R-22), better known as Freon, is a refrigerant gas that has been used in AC units for many years. Fifty years ago R-22 was king of the coolant industry. It was affordable, long-lasting and performed remarkably well. As with many early industrial ventures, it was later discovered to be harmful to the environment. R-22 was determined to be both Ozone Depletion and have a potential effect on Global Warming. For the average consumer with an older model AC unit, this can mean a big expense when it comes to repairs.
Why is R-22 so expensive?
Due to requirements set forth by the Montreal Protocol, R-22 has been phased out of new HVAC equipment in the United States. Of course, there are still older AC units across the nation using R-22. The EPA and the government are mandated to remove R-22 from production by 2020. Recycled or recovered R-22 can still be used in older units until supplies are diminished. In an effort to discourage consumers from using it the government has dramatically increased the cost. A new tank of freon which cost $350 last year is $800 this year. This can often cause a dilemma for consumers having an older AC unit serviced or repaired.
What are your options?
If your AC has had issues and you’ve had to add coolant or R-22 in the past due to a leak, there are a few options you should consider this year. With R-22 costs skyrocketing and the fact that it will no longer be available in the coming years, now is the time to consider a new plan.
- Find the leak: If your AC unit has a significant leak, you need 3-5 pounds of R-22 added to your system, finding and fixing the leak is essential. R-22 prices will continue to rise and adding that much freon year after year is not cost effective. Fixing the leak should allow your unit to last longer and not require R-22 again.
- Add more R-22: If you have a small leak, replacing the R-22 might be the best option. Should your AC unit require 2lbs or less, this could be the most affordable solution to keeping your air conditioner running smoothly.
- Flush out the R-22 and use a new refrigerant. If repairs or R-22 replacement is expensive, removing the R-22 and adding a lower cost refrigerant might be a good alternative. Other refrigerants may not cool as well, may not be compatible with the oils in the system or might require significant labor costs to retrofit the unit. All these factors should be considered before choosing this option.
- Upgrade your equipment: This may be an option if your system is over 10 years old, you have a large leak and if repairs and adding R-22 is very expensive. New equipment uses 410A, a much less expensive refrigerant. It is more energy efficient and compliant with the 2020 mandate.
Bill’s Heating & Air Conditioning can help no matter what option you choose
Consider your options before your AC breaks down. If your unit is struggling and is over 10 years old, now is the time to act. Consider a planned replacement of your equipment before it’s 90 degrees inLincoln and your unit has died. At that point, you will just want it fixed quickly and might not make the best long-term choice. the experienced technicians at Bill’s can evaluate your system, give you an accurate diagnosis or quotes on repair and/or replacement options. Don’t wait. Summer heat is right around the corner.