Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioning System?

April 30, 2017

Summer is on the horizon and that means grilling, baseball, and warmer weather. It also means air conditioning season and this summer air conditioner 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 gone down by 90%. By 2020, production will be prohibited. Homeowners, as a result, face the choice of whether to repair or to replace a system using R22 refrigerant from both a financial and environmental perspective.

The R22 phase out has added new variables if you are considering repairing or replacing your A/C system. For instance, some refrigerant creators are selling less expensive alternatives to R22, often called “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those alternatives are cheaper only in the short run.

“Lennox®, one of the leading A/C system manufacturers, has conducted research that shows these cheaper alternate refrigerants are not capable of working with the lubricating oil used in R22 systems,” said Dave Moody, Vice President of Marketing at Service Experts Heating and Air Conditioning. “Recharging older air conditioning systems with these alternative refrigerants may actually damage the system and create more costly problems. These so called drop-in refrigerants will also void 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 increase by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to increase as summer approaches.

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

“Homeowners aren’t required to replace their equipment now, but it’s good for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s essential 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 typical life-span of many home A/C systems is eight to ten years, which will help homeowners determine the cost benefit of either paying the increasing price for R22 to repair older systems, versus upgrading. Additional benefits to upgrading include the opportunity to take advantage of energy rebates being offered and upgrading your home’s energy-efficiency. New systems will also have longer warranty periods, calmer operation, and the peace of mind of a more ozone-friendly refrigerant, not to mention improved home comfort through more advanced technology.

To learn more about your repair or replacement options, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today at 330-305-2799 today.

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