The Future of Air Conditioning – New rules, New equipment
In a previous blog post we briefly discussed the phase-out of R-22 refrigerant. We want to discuss this topic a bit further so homeowners have a better understanding of what it means for them.
What are refrigerants?
Refrigerants are the working fluid used to absorb and transfer heat from one part of the air conditioning system to another. Refrigeration makes air conditioning possible, which contributes enormously to our quality of life.
Why are certain refrigerants being phased out?
In recent decades it was discovered that when certain refrigerants are released into the atmosphere, they damage the ozone layer. Many refrigerants also enhance the greenhouse effect, leading to accelerated global warming.
The U.S. government has placed restrictions on R-22 and has issued the requirement that R-22 refrigerant must be eliminated from use in cooling systems by the year 2020. At this point, R22 will no longer be manufactured and cannot be used as a refrigerant in new air conditioning systems.
What if my system is in good condition, but uses R-22?
The supply of R-22 is dwindling. As demand gets higher, prices continue to increase. If your system needs refrigerant be prepared to pay much more.
As the phase-out continues, R-22 can still be used in existing systems, but it will only be available through after-market sales, such as when it is recovered from older systems that have been salvaged.
Are there any other options?
Some R-22 systems can be converted to an alternative refrigerant. However, most systems are not compatible with alternative refrigerants. Retrofitting a system will also decrease its efficiency.
Completely replacing the system by upgrading to an environmentally and economically friendly system is the most cost-effective option. By switching to a system that uses R-410A refrigerant you’ll see significant cost savings. Newer systems are also about 30% more efficient than older systems.
The bottom line is that the R-22 phase-out will be felt by anyone who uses R-22 refrigerant. As time goes on, the scope of maintenance and repair work to an R-22 system will be significantly limited and expensive.
At Burkholder’s HVAC we can help you make the best decision for you and your system. Contact us to schedule a free consultation.
Check out our infographic to learn more about R-22 and the phase out: