For those experiencing troubles with their air conditioners, then there are just two choices – replace or repair. The latter is quicker, cheaper and possibly recommended for more recent models. But, for the older units, it’s likely better to replace them, especially any units requiring R22 refrigerant. As you probably already know, R-22 is in the process of being phased out, and soon it will become illegal. The last legal day for the importation of the refrigerant is December 31, 2019.
Generally, older AC systems tend to use this type of refrigerant. If an air conditioner springs a refrigerant leak or requires a major (costly) repair, then the homeowner will have to make a decision. Should they place their hard earned money into a system that is on its way out or invest their funds into a cooling system that is energy efficient?
According to most HVAC experts, wise owners should switch to new units as soon as possible. However, many are interested in saving a few dollars and retrofitting their unit instead. That said, owners must also be cautious as to the tricky process. Does the entire HVAC system require replacing? Or, would an AC retrofit be enough?
Why R22 Is Being Phased Out & R22 Replacement
The reasons for R22 coolant being phased out should be made clear to all owners. The fact is that the coolant contains HCFCs, or hydrochlorofluorocarbons. As refrigerants, HCFCs work great, but they are terrible for the environment. Studies have shown their immense contribution to the damage of the ozone layer. Failure to stop this in its track will leave us to become more vulnerable to UV rays. Thankfully, people in the right places have stepped in and brought change. Now, there are HCFC-free products and other refrigerants that serve as R22 replacements.
Banning R22 And The Implications For Connecticut Homeowners
If your system uses the soon-to-be obsolete R22 refrigerant, then you will soon be in a position where you won’t be able to purchase the coolant just a few months from now. Refrigerant recharges are necessary when there’s a leak in the AC. So, should your unit need to be topped off, you’ll only be able to do it until the end of 2019, and at incredibly high r22 refrigerant prices. Come January 2020, you won’t have any other choice than to have the system replaced or retrofitted.
It should be noted that older AC units that still run will be far less efficient than they were in the past. So, they’ll use much more energy to cool the space, meaning you’ll pay more in utility bills. Eventually, the system will not perform well and will end up failing to thoroughly cool the home or business.
Financially speaking, R22 will continue to cost more due to the law of supply and demand. There will still be owners trying to put off the replacement, and they’ll order a recharge. However, no matter how long consumers try to put it off, there is a ban, and no more R22 will ever be made or imported. Many manufacturers are currently trying to sell off their remaining R22 coolant to create new, legal products. Although it may seem bleak for consumers of old air conditioning units, it’s not entirely true. There are available perks and tax breaks for consumers who choose to replace older cooling equipment with environmentally-friendly units. Be sure to talk to the HVAC experts at Wilcox Energy to find out more information.
Developing Alternative Refrigerants To Replace R22
The good news is that newer refrigerants replacing R22 are equally or possibly better than the latter which has caused excessive damage to the ozone layer. Welcome R-410A, which cylinders can be identified by their pink color. Honeywell researchers invented it almost 20 years ago! Though they were the pioneers in production, others have also gotten licenses to produce it. It causes no harm to the ozone layer, and it’s widely available through the majority of HVAC service contractors. Another environmentally-friendly refrigerant is R-412A.
Comparing Full Air Conditioner Upgrades And AC Retrofits
Given the many tax breaks and perks of full air conditioner upgrades, it should never be considered further. However, lower-cost options are available through air conditioner retrofitting – something many are considering. This option allows owners to use the new refrigerant with the old unit. Homeowners believe they shouldn’t have to sacrifice their entire system if the only problem is the R22 refrigerant. In practice, however, it’s not the ideal solution.
The problem with this scenario is that R22 replacements, like R-410A, run at a higher pressure than R22 does. Older units were designed to run at a lower pressure, so they are not capable of handling the higher pressure. Over time, retrofitted AC units tend to have coil or condenser leaks, which would lead the homeowner back to the initial problem.
However, with a full upgrade of the AC system, the new refrigerants will be fully compatible with the new system. The result would be a decade or more of problem-free air conditioning. It will almost guarantee the elimination of costly repairs over that time-frame. It will also ensure the energy efficiency associated with the modern technology of HVAC systems. Couple the AC upgrade with incentives and tax breaks, the purchase becomes more attractive and affordable.
Should You Replace Both Cooling And Heating Systems Together?
Replacing both systems, i.e., the cooling and heating systems simultaneously should be considered. This way, you’ll save more in terms of installation, purchase, and energy. It’s a wise step to install them together. Owners of new HVAC systems notice better overall performance.
Unfortunately, opting to switch just one, leaving a mix of an old and a new system may end up decreasing the overall performance and possibly, its lifespan. Also, because of that, don’t be surprised that some manufacturers won’t honor warranties of systems that are not entirely compatible. Go all the way without taking shortcuts. Like this, you’ll be a smart consumer protecting yourself and your investment. Be sure to talk to the heating and cooling experts at Wilcox Energy to find out more information.
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