Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioning System?

Summer is on the horizon and that means backyard barbeques, baseball, and warmer weather. It also means air conditioning season and this summer air conditioning system repairs will come with rising costs for the refrigerant R22, more commonly known as Freon™. 

We talked to you about the R22 phase out earlier this year, and manufacturing of R22 refrigerant has already dropped by 90%. By 2020, production will be banned. Homeownersnow face the challenge 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 factors to consider if you are thinking about repairing or replacing your A/C system. For instance, some refrigerant manufacturers are selling lower price alternatives to R22, often referred to as “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those replacements are cheaper only in the short run. 

“Lennox®, one of the leading A/C system manufacturers, has conducted research that shows these less expensive alternate refrigerants are not capable of working with the lubricating oil used in R22 units,” said Dave Moody, Chief Product and Marketing Officer at Service Experts Heating and Air Conditioning. “Recharging older A/C systems with these alternative refrigerants could actually damage the system and create more high-cost problems. These so called drop-in refrigerants will also invalidate 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 conditioning systems needing additional R22 refrigerant go up by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to keep increasing as summer approaches. 

New air conditioning systems use the more environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant, a different refrigerant that cannot be combined or used in an existing air conditioning 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, giving homeowners time to upgrade air conditioners before the phase-out period. 

“Homeowners don’t need to replace their entire system now, but it’s good for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s important to know you can’t mix R22 and R410A. When a new R410A system is installed, both the outdoor coil and equipment 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 8-10 years, which will help homeowners determine the cost benefit of either paying the premium price for R22 to repair older units, versus upgrading. Further benefits to upgrading include the opportunity to take advantage of energy rebates being offered and upgrading your home’s energy-efficiency. New equipment will also have longer warranty periods, calmer operation, and the peace of mind of a more ozone-friendly refrigerant, not to mention greater home comfort through more advanced technology. 

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

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