Garland, TX (PRWEB) July 02, 2014
Arctic Comfort Air Conditioning has recently seen an increase in the price of R22 Refrigerant. Also known as Freon, this is the unseen chemical that cools homes.
In January 1989, The Montreal Protocol Treaty went into effect with the goal of protecting the ozone layer by regulating and phasing out harmful ozone depleting substances. Consequently, this was the beginning of the EPA regulations and phase out of ozone depleting refrigerants here in the United States.
In 2010, manufacturers could no longer produce or import air conditioning units pre-charged with R22 refrigerant, and production of the refrigerant was reduced by 75 percent. In 2015, R22 production will be reduced by 90 percent, in 2020, a 99.5 percent reduction, and a total of 100 percent phase out by 2030.
That was what was originally intended. Currently, the EPA is looking at three phase-out options. The first option, the preferred option by the EPA, is to end production and importation no later than January 1, 2020, an option close to the original intent and date. The second option ends production and importation in 2018. The third option is the “estimation method,” based on service needs and adjusts for recovery and reuse, which would lead to uncertainty in supply. Then there are those in the industry and Congress that would like a 100 percent phase out in 2015. That’s just next year!
The EPA will hopefully reach a decision by the end of summer or fall, and whatever the EPA decides will be the final decision with no further future changes. A once and for all decision would stabilize the supply for the remainder of the phase out and allow the industry to prepare for the final phase out date. But the price for a pound of R22 refrigerant will still be dictated by a heavy demand for an increasingly limited supply.
Air conditioning and heating companies recover, reclaim, and recycle the R22 refrigerant from the existing R22 units being replaced, which then can be used to service units beyond the final phase out, but one can imagine how expensive it will be to service obsolete equipment as time goes by.
Manufacturers did find a loophole in the law: manufacture dry charge units and let the technicians charge the systems with R22 refrigerant in the field. This helps many homeowners that are not ready or unable to change out their entire air conditioning system, but increases demand for an already limited supply of refrigerant. How long the manufacturers will continue to produce dry charge units or when and if the EPA will close the loophole is unknown.
Air conditioning equipment that uses the new refrigerant R410A are more environmentally friendly, but are not compatible with older indoor and outdoor units that use R22 refrigerant. Therefore, replacing the entire air conditioning system may be necessary for compatibility reasons.
Once an air conditioning system is properly charged, refrigerant should not have to be added. If refrigerant has to be added, there is a leak. The system can be re-charged, which will be very expensive at $300-$900 and up, or the system can be leak-checked to locate the leak and possibly have the leak repaired, but this option can be expensive as well, and not all leaks can be repaired due to their location.
Those who choose to have a system charged with refrigerant should be advised that there is no way of knowing how long the charge will last. It could last the cooling season or only a few days. Even with a leak, the system is under pressure, so a small leak can suddenly become a big leak.
There are some replacement refrigerants called drop-ins that can replace R22 and are not as expensive, but the use of these drop-ins in equipment under warranty will void most manufacturers’ warranty. Be sure of which refrigerant the system is being charged with.
The best advice is this: an air conditioning system that is 10-15 years old should be replaced in lieu of repair or charging with refrigerant. Put that money towards the highest efficiency air conditioning system budgets will allow. A new air conditioning system will have environmentally friendly refrigerant, will save substantially on electric bills, be more reliable saving on repairs and be more comfortable.
About the company:
Since 1990, Arctic Comfort Air Conditioning and Heating has provided dependable air conditioning installation, air conditioning repair, heating repair, service, equipment, and quality products to Garland and surrounding Dallas area homeowners. Whether customers need new air conditioning and heating equipment or repair of existing heating and air conditioning systems, Arctic Comfort Air Conditioning and Heating meets the highest performance standards in the business, from employee training to customer care. They are fully qualified to repair or service existing air conditioning and heating systems, as well as help select a new comfort system that best fits the customer’s home and needs. They are a family-owned and operated company that believes in caring, reliable service. Customers will have the same tech in their home every time they call to have a repair or service done.