Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioning System?

Summer is coming and that means grilling, baseball, and warmer weather. It also means cooling season and this summer A/C repairs will come with rising costs for the refrigerant R22, more commonly known as Freon™. 

We told you about the R22 phase out earlier this year, and creation of R22 refrigerant has already decreased by 90%. By 2020, production will be banned. Homeownersnow face the challenge of whether to repair or to replace their system using R22 refrigerant from both a money and environmental perspective. 

The R22 phase out has added new variables to consider if you are thinking about repairing or replacing your air conditioner. For instance, some refrigerant manufacturers are selling less expensive alternatives to R22, often described as “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those alternatives are cheaper only in the short run. 

“Lennox®, one of the leading air conditioning manufacturers, has conducted research that shows these lower cost alternate refrigerants are not able to work with the lubricating oil used in R22 equipment,” said Dave Moody, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Service Experts Heating and Air Conditioning. “Recharging older A/C systems with these alternative refrigerants might actually damage the unit and create more expensive problems. These so called drop-in refrigerants will also nullify any applicable manufacturer’s warranty.” 

Because of the R22 phase out, the heating and air conditioning industry is seeing the cost to repair older air conditioners needing additional R22 refrigerant rise by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to continue to increase as summer arrives. 

New A/C systems use the more environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant, a different refrigerant that cannot be mixed or used in an existing air conditioner or heat pump designed for R22. Currently, reclamation and recycling of R22 is expected to be sufficient for existing systems, of course at a much higher cost, allowing time to upgrade systems before the phase-out period. 

“Homeowners don’t have to replace their equipment now, but it’s good for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s crucial to know you can’t blend R22 and R410A. When a new R410A system is installed, both the outdoor equipment and coil need replacing, and the interconnecting refrigerant tubing needs inspecting. These new units are often far more energy-efficient and can seriously save on energy costs, sound pollution, or even utilize alternative energy sources like solar energy.” 

The average life-span of many home air conditioners is eight to ten years, which will help homeowners determine the cost benefit of either paying the premium price for R22 to repair older units, versus upgrading. More benefits to upgrading include the opportunity to take advantage of energy rebates being offered and improving your home’s energy-efficiency. New equipment will also have longer warranty periods, smoother operation, and the peace of mind of a more ozone-friendly refrigerant, not to mention better home comfort through more advanced technology. 

To find out about your repair or replacement choices, call Stevenson Service Experts today at 614-334-3192 today. 

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