Here’s What You Should Consider If Your AC Uses R-22 Refrigerant

refrigerantWe depend on air conditioning systems to keep us cool despite the scorching heat of summer. These hardworking machines can be relied upon to serve us for many years with minimal maintenance. However, even the best of them will ultimately have to retire. If yours frequently fails, then it might be more prudent to replace it instead of continuing with repairs. This aspect is especially true for units that are over 15 years of age because of the impending R22 refrigerant phaseout.

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The Timeline For The R-22 Ban In The United States

Cooling systems need a refrigerant that can absorb heat and transfer it outdoors. In the past, the industry relied on a compound called R22 for this task. It did work well, but there was one glaring problem: it was extremely bad for the environment. It contained chemicals called HCFCs that were primarily responsible for creating a hole in the ozone layer.[1] This problem meant that the sun’s UV rays could penetrate with a higher intensity with dire consequences. Governments scrambled to regulate all substances that contained HCFCs and other ozone-depleting substances in an attempt to mitigate the danger. As the final step, the importation and manufacturing of R-22 in the US will become illegal by 2020.[2]

The Availability of R22 In New Jersey

There are still some months before the phaseout is implemented. Thus, people may still find R-22 for the refrigerant needs of their older units. They should just be aware that the supply is dwindling and the demand is high. Homeowners may have to spend as much as $2,000 or even more to recharge their systems. The price will be directly proportional to the size of their unit. A candid comparison of the cost of ownership for the old inefficient air conditioning units and the cost of upgrading to a new AC unit will reveal just how much more desirable the latter is.

Call Lawes Company right away if you would like assistance in assessing your options for your cooling solutions.

By the next year, we will be barred from access to R22 refrigerant. Homes that continue to use this coolant will no longer be able to recharge their system. If they have a refrigerant leak, then that will be it for their unit. The only solution would be to replace the HVAC system with something that uses an alternative coolant. It would be better to start the process this year while there are low prices for air conditioner replacements to older units. Call Lawes Company today for more information!

The Green Rationale Behind The R-22 Phaseout

environmentally friendly refrigerantThis is not a random phase out. R-22 needs to be removed from the market because studies show that it has contributed significantly to the destruction of the ozone layer. The compounds that make up the refrigerant have made their way up and caused a hole to appear in this protective shielding. The hole has become wider during the height of its use.

After it was severely regulated and new alternatives were developed, this hole began to shrink, and all of those affected began to recover. Those who would like to do their part in protecting the environment can switch to a modern system with a safer refrigerant like R-410a, or Puron.

Comparing the Efficiency of Old and New Refrigerants: R-22 Vs. R-410a

Differences Between R-22 & R-410a: A Comparison

no R-22 R-410a
1 R-22 was a common refrigerant before the phaseout took place.  A new environmentally friendly refrigerant by the brand named Puron and is used for heat transfer in modern air conditioning systems.
2 R-22 is not as energy efficient as R-410a as it does not absorb and release heat as effectively. It can absorb and release heat efficiently which makes R-410a more competent than R-22.
3 R-22 is less environmentally friendly. R-410a is more ecologically friendly.
4 It is no longer used in newly-manufactured air conditioning systems. R-410a is suitable for all modern air conditioners.
5 R-22 has been found to contribute to the reduction of the ozone layer. No contribution to the depletion of the ozone layer.
6 R-22 refrigerant prices are astronomical due to the Federal Government's phaseout. R-410a enables homeowners to avoid the risk of overheating and AC malfunctions due to tougher and durable air conditioner parts.

HVAC systems slowly suffer from a decline in efficiency as they age. This can be mitigated through regular maintenance, but it cannot be stopped completely. Dirt will cover the surfaces and build up in layers. Slowly, through age and normal wear and tear, the unit works harder than it should to accomplish what it needs to do. Cracks will develop and leaks will become a problem. Noises will start to get louder, and consumption will begin to rise to uncomfortable levels. At some point, it will make more financial sense to get rid of the old air conditioner and get a modern system to reduce stress.

Cooling technology has also improved by leaps and bounds in the past 15 years, particularly when it comes to their energy efficiency. The average A/C from 2005 will consume a lot more power than the average unit today. The difference is remarkable from an initial performance standpoint. Since older systems decline over time, the gap will only widen through the years. HVAC units are known to be the biggest consumer of energy in a home. The monthly bills are not trivial. If you would like to experience better performance and reduced consumption, then the right choice is apparent. You need to replace your air conditioner.

The Soaring Cost Of R22 Refrigerant Price Expected In 2019

cost of r22We are counting the days until R22 becomes unavailable. Right now, it is possible to get this refrigerant but only if you are willing to pay the high r-22 refrigerant price. Knowing that the phase-out is imminent has led manufacturers to stop producing more of the product. The supply is getting lower while the demand increases. The situation will only get worse with the prices possibly spiraling out of control as we approach 2020.

Those who will experience refrigerant leaks will have to face incredibly high repair costs — something that is not avoidable if they stick with the same system until the summer and beyond. The rates charged will keep going up as the months roll by because the sources of coolant also jack up their prices. Given the inevitability of market forces, there will be a rush to secure more R22 just before the complete ban which will likely make the product even more expensive than it already is. Currently, it could cost a 5-ton air conditioner $2000 or more to recharge their system.

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How To Offset The Cost Of New Air Conditioner Installations

There is no need to worry about the cost since the government is providing incentives for HVAC upgrades. These include tax breaks that should significantly reduce the cost of new A/C units. You can find out more through the Air Conditioning Contractors of America, or ACCA.

Also, the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio is the key metric in determining the savings that you can get out of your new purchase. Every air conditioning system will have the SEER rating posted for reference. Higher is better so get the best that you can afford. You will benefit from more significant incentives, rebates, and tax credits. With better efficiency also comes reduced energy consumption and lower charges on your monthly bills.

The SEER rating is similar to the fuel consumption rating in vehicles. A higher number signifies increased comfort for each dollar spent on energy. Today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid 1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.[3]

If you have any questions regarding tax breaks and other incentives, then do not hesitate to contact Lawes Company today. Call (732) 741-6300 today to schedule your free, in-home HVAC assessment.

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Conclusion

Lawes Company is a dependable name in the HVAC industry. We provide assistance to commercial and residential customers who want affordable yet high-quality heating and cooling services. If you need HVAC repairs, tune-ups, maintenance, or installations, then give us a call.

Our team of professionals will do everything to provide you with excellent results. We offer free consultations so schedule your appointment today!
Get in touch with us today, and we will be happy to serve you. We offer free, in-home estimates. Call now!

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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)