Homes that have central air conditioners or heat pumps manufactured before 2010 could use Freon or R-22 as the coolant, and if yours does, the R-22 phaseout may affect your budget. The U.S. EPA is in the process of phasing out this refrigerant, since it’s harmful for the ozone layer and contributes to global warming.
As a result, costs are rising dramatically, since the EPA is limiting the production and importation of R-22, decreasing the amount available annually. If your cooling system needs a refill, it’ll cost you more with each progressing year.
Several options exist to help you avoid paying an increasingly rising cost for R-22, including:
- Maintaining your current equipment. Dirty condenser and evaporator coils contribute to refrigerant leaks. The refrigerant in your system doesn’t drop unless there’s a leak in the refrigerant lines between the condenser and the evaporator coil.Keeping the air filter for the indoor air handler will help keep the evaporator coil clean. Hosing off the condensing coil periodically also removes the dust that accumulates outside. Annual maintenance performed by an HVAC professional also lengthens the life of your system and the technician may spot problems with the refrigerant lines before they become serious and cause a leak.
- Replacing your cooling system. If your cooling system is more than 10 years old and electric bills are climbing, replacing it altogether might be the best solution for dealing with the R-22 phaseout. New systems use R-410A as the refrigerant and it’s more efficient and less environmentally toxic than R-22.
- If your condenser needs replacing, you might be able to replace the outdoor condenser by installing a new dry-charge unit. If your air handler performs well, an HVAC contractor can select a compatible condensing unit that uses R-22 and this approach saves you the cost of replacing the entire system, a more budget-friendly solution.
The pros at Paschal Heat, Air & Geothermal can help you explore your options during the R-22 phaseout. If you’d like to learn more, please feel free to contact us. We’ve provided HVAC services for northwestern Arkansas homeowners since 1968.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Springdale, Arkansas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about R-22 phaseout and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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