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How To Determine If Your Air Conditioner Uses R-22 Refrigerant

r22 refrigerantMany air conditioning systems are at risk of obsolescence next year. By 2020, the refrigerant known as R22 will be illegal in the United States. Affected cooling units that require a refrigerant charge this year will be in for a costly surprise. Those that will need the same service the following year will no longer be able to avail of it. This article will discuss the details of the impending phase-out. We will also discuss how to handle the change if your unit runs on R22.

There are good reasons for discarding obsolete machines. Instead of being useful to homeowners, they can be a burden because of frequent breakdowns, expensive repairs, lousy performance, and extreme inefficiency.

When it comes to R22-dependent air conditioners, the pressure to retire them is higher because coolant repairs have become incredibly expensive this year. People are still in a rush to get service done because repairs will be impossible by the new calendar year. If there is a coolant leak, you must decide whether you will stick with your old system and endure the high repairs or replace it outright.

The government-led phase-out will affect the whole country. Consequently, there is no way to go around it. Thus, the demand for R22 has surged while the supply keeps on dwindling.

Basic economics led to a sharp increase in R22 pricing. A simple recharge used to be affordable, but now it could set you back half the cost of a brand new high-efficiency cooling system. If you think of the long-term savings, then replacing the old A/C is the way to go.
Before anything else, you should check if your air conditioner is indeed using R22. Newer models that came out after 2010 are probably using a different type of refrigerant. Thus, your repair options will be more affordable. The industry switched over to the alternative known as R-410a or Puron past 2010. As for cooling systems that were made before that date, the majority feature R22 refrigerant. You will need to decide to repair or replace once you are sure about what’s under the hood of your air conditioner.

Note that you do not have to wait until your old unit is failing before you act. After all, the phase-out will happen by January 2020. Your R22 cooling system will be obsolete whether it functions well or not. As such, it would be prudent to gather funds for an air conditioner replacement as early as possible.

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Determining If Your Air Conditioner Uses R22 Refrigerant

Below are a few approaches that you can take to verify the refrigerant inside of your machine, all of which are easy to perform. You can also learn essential details about the R-22 phase out that might prove useful.

1. Date Of Air Conditioner Manufacturing

air conditionerSince significant changes happened in the HVAC industry at specific times, owners can use these for clues about their cooling system’s refrigerant. The date of manufacture is one of the easiest and quickest ways to determine what’s inside the unit. There should be a manufacturer’s label on the air handler or the condenser containing the manufacture date. If it was made before 1996, then it is using R22. From that point until 2009, companies had a choice between R22 and R-410A. From 2010 onwards, the entire HVAC industry switched to R-410A.

2. Date Of AC Installation

If you can’t find the label, then you could use the year of the unit’s installation as the basis. It should be similar to the manufacturing date anyway, so the important dates still apply. The EPA also made it illegal for HVAC companies to install units that contain R22 starting from 2010. You do not have to worry about the phase-out if your system was installed on that year or after.

3. Look At The Manufacturer Specifications

Air conditioners typically state the kind of refrigerant they contain. The manufacturers place this information on the nameplate located around the condenser unit. You may also look for a sticker which states that the AC unit is free of R-22. Only certified systems will have these.

Old age can render the nameplate unreadable. Some might even be missing this information-rich element. In such cases, you will be left guessing about the actual status of your cooling system. Get clarity by calling the manufacturer on their hotline. Their customer service representatives should be able to dig up the details that you need. However, you should give them something to work with like the unit’s make and model.

4. Call Your HVAC Contractor

HVAC technicianMost heating and cooling experts will recommend an annual tune-up to keep the air conditioner running at peak performance. During these visits, owners could ask their HVAC contractor to check the refrigerant of their unit. These professionals should be able to tell whether it uses R22 just by looking at it since they know every model built by different brands. If all else fails, then this is your best bet for determining whether you will be affected by the phase-out or not.

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R-22 Refrigerant Phase Out In New Jersey

The ban on R-22 is not a sudden change. The R-22 phase-out has been in motion for many years with different levels of restrictions at critical points. It is also important to point out that owners can still use their old air conditioner that uses this banned refrigerant. However, doing so will be an expensive decision. Supply is short because manufacturers can no longer make the product, so people have to deal with exorbitant r-22 prices. A recharge can cost almost 50% of the price of a new cooling system.

Cooling Choices For Affected Homeowners

If you have a unit that runs on R-22, then it is probably old and inefficient at this point. Sticking with it will only cause you frustrations with frequent breakdowns, poor performance, pricey repairs, and glaring inefficiency. The best course of action will be to replace it altogether at the soonest possible time.

The price you will pay for a coolant recharge is too much at this point. If your unit experiences a leak, then you can expect to spend thousands of dollars to recharge your air conditioner. Replacing your unit with a new one might be costly but the improved efficiency and greater reliability will save you money in the long run. Just make sure that a trusted HVAC contractor will perform the replacement for the best results.

If money is an issue, then ask around for financing options to make replacement viable. This path should be available to you if you have a good credit rating.

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Conclusion

Let Lawes Company assist you in this endeavor. We are a respected name in the local HVAC industry. Our experience in helping commercial and residential clients over the years makes us fully prepared to tackle any project. You can rely on us for HVAC installations, repairs, tune-ups, and other home comfort needs.

Our professional and highly-skilled team can deliver excellent services at affordable rates. Tell us about your concerns, and we will offer guaranteed solutions. Call Lawes Company today to schedule a free estimate!

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