Written by Brad Crawford
Refrigerant is the substance that allows your air conditioner or heat pump to generate cooling for your home. R-22, also known as HCFC-22 or the brand name “Freon,” has long been the industry standard refrigerant, and until recently it has been plentiful, inexpensive and easy to get. New government regulations are reducing new supplies of R-22 refrigerant more and more every year. In response, prices have risen dramatically, and R-22 is becoming more difficult to find at an affordable price.
Along with other nations, the U.S. government has determined that R-22 refrigerant is harmful to the environment because it increases depletion of the ozone layer. The Clean Air Act requires that R-22 refrigerant be gradually phased out for use in air conditioning systems, and since 2010 no new A/Cs or heat pumps have been sold that use R-22. By the year 2020, R-22 will no longer be manufactured. The only way to acquire R-22 will be through recycling or reclaiming it from existing air conditioning systems.
Instead of the standard R-22 refrigerant, air conditioning systems must use more environmentally friendly refrigerants such as R-410A or R-422. While these newer refrigerants are safer for the environment, Dallas A/C system owners will be faced with a shock when they try to convert: R-410A and R-422 refrigerant will not work in air conditioners that use R-22 without substantial modifications to the equipment.
The status of R-22 refrigerant leaves millions of American homeowners with two expensive choices.
- Continue using R-22: Dallas A/C and heat pump owners can continue to use R-22 in older systems. However, as supplies dwindle, the cost of R-22 is almost guaranteed to become extremely expensive, even prohibitively so. For example, in early 2013, the EPA restricted the production of R-22 by about 30 percent over previous levels.
- Completely replace existing air conditioning systems: While this will be inconvenient and costly for most homeowners, it provides the opportunity to replace your Dallas A/C with a newer high-efficiency air conditioning system that is more reliable, more effective, and more economical to operate. The monthly savings from a system replaced now will recover much of the cost of the new system by 2020. Plus, new high-efficiency central A/Cs and heat pumps may qualify for a $300 federal tax credit.
Dallas area customers can count on Crawford Services, Inc. for fast, reliable air conditioning service and maintenance. Contact us today for more information on the phase-out of R-22 refrigerant and what it will mean to your Dallas A/C system now and in the future.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in North Texas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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