Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioning System?

April 30, 2017

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

We talked to 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 banned. Homeowners now face the challenge of whether to repair or to replace the 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 air conditioner. For instance, some refrigerant producers are selling lower price alternatives to R22, often referred to as “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those substitutes are cheaper only in the short run.

“Lennox®, one of the leading A/C system manufacturers, has offered research that shows these cheaper alternate refrigerants are not capable of working with the lubricating oil used in R22 units,” 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 expensive 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 A/C equipment needing additional R22 refrigerant rise by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to keep increasing as summer approaches.

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

“Homeowners don’t have to replace their air conditioner now, but it’s good for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s essential to know you can’t combine R22 and R410A. When a new R410A system is installed, the outdoor equipment and outdoor coil both need replacing, and the interconnecting refrigerant tubing needs inspecting. This new equipment is 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 air conditioning systems is 8-10 years, which will help homeowners determine the cost benefit of either paying the increasing 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 improving your home’s energy-efficiency. New systems will also have longer warranty periods, quieter 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 options, call Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today at 330-236-4793 today.

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