When summers beckon and the temperatures increase, homeowners start focusing on getting their air conditioners ready to keep their homes comfortable. The air conditioning system should be in its top state to ensure that it can cross the season without malfunctioning and leaving your home uncomfortable under the scorching heat. Recharging the refrigerant or replacing it is among the typical air conditioning service tasks homeowners undertake in readiness for the summer.
If your HVAC system was produced before 2010, it is highly likely to use a refrigerant called Freon or R-22. However, the EPA regulations started phasing out the refrigerant in 2010 with and subsequently banned the production or importation of the same in 2020. Therefore, homeowners with older air conditioning systems might need help finding a refrigerant to refill their existing units.
Why Is Freon Being Phased Out?
Over the last few decades, the EPA has been upping its efforts to reduce the depletion of the ozone layer since the 1980s. the efforts aimed at lowering CFCs present in various aerosols and what the scientists call “greenhouse gases.” Unfortunately, Freon is among the CFCs with the highest Global Warming Potential (GWP). Being on the list of items that deplete the ozone layer, the EPA decided to ban it and promote other refrigerants with a lower GWP.
What Is Freon Phase Out Schedule?
According to ASHRAE, the Freon phase-out started in 2004 through a series of limitations to its production. By the year 2010, a majority of the air conditioning systems had stopped using Freon and started using other alternative refrigerants. The importation and production of R-22 were banned entirely in 2020. However, air conditioning service providers can still get Freon to refill your AC system from recycled or reclaimed sources, albeit at a high fee.
Keeping Up With the Costs
Because it was banned and production no longer takes place, sourcing the R-22 refrigerant has become challenging. As a result, some Plano, TX homeowners who still have units that use the coolant have started noticing that the cost of recharging their systems has gone a notch higher. Most homeowners are adapting to this cost increase by having air conditioning service providers replace their systems with more eco-friendly refrigerants like R-32. Others have turned to replacement refrigerants. Although purchasing a new unit might be cost-prohibitive, making the change will likely save you a fortune on refrigerant recharges. Hence, this might be about time to have a technician come for an HVAC replacement service, especially if your unit is old and the refrigerant leaks.
How Can You Adapt to the Change?
Homeowners with HVAC systems manufactured post-2010 are likely to have no problems since these systems don’t use the Freon refrigerant. Do you hope to avoid the ever-increasing costs of recharging a Freon-based HVAC system? then you should take these steps after consulting your air conditioning service provider:
Determine if Your Air Conditioner Uses Freon
If your air conditioner was manufactured post-2010, you don’t have to worry about making any changes. Most of the systems manufactured between 2004-2010 use alternative refrigerants. First, you should confirm which refrigerant your air conditioner uses, and your air conditioning service provider can help you with this. The label on your AC condenser clearly states the unit’s coolant. If you notice that it uses HCFC-22 or R-22, you might have to replace it if it is old and leaky. However, if your unit uses the R-410A, you are in the clear.
Installing a New Air Conditioner
The simple solution is to upgrade your older system, especially if it was created before 2004. The US Department of Energy estimates that an AC system will average the last 15 to 20 years. This alternative will be more expensive, but some high and unavoidable costs will arise over the next few years as the R-22 refrigerant in your system begins to deteriorate and cannot be replaced. However, consult your air conditioning service provider before you purchase the system.
Converting Your Current System
Was your air conditioning system manufactured in 2010, and is it in pretty good shape? Then you don’t have to replace the unit yet. You can stretch the service life of your Plano, TX home’s HVAC system by several years by having an air conditioning service convert it to another alternative refrigerant, such as the R-410A. The process of converting a current air conditioning system involves the following:
- Replacing the furnace, evaporator coil, and air conditioner
- Because R-410A requires more pressure, copper tubing and connectors must be replaced throughout the system.
- This conversion will need to be done by a skilled professional in HVAC systems because the necessary tools and equipment are not accessible to do-it-yourself.
Use of Alternative Refrigerants
Solving the issue seems straightforward at first glance, just replacing the Freon with R-410A or any other alternative refrigerant. However, there are several factors to consider before having the air conditioning service provider help you make the switch, including:
- You shouldn’t do this to a system still covered by a manufacturer’s warranty because alternative refrigerants void any manufacturer warranties.
- Alternative refrigerants that have received ASHRAE approval for satisfying appropriate industry safety criteria will have an R- in their identification.
- Any alternative refrigerants should never be mixed with R-22 or other gases, necessitating system cleansing before refilling with the substitute.
- Since alternative refrigerants frequently demand more significant pressures to operate correctly, copper connections and tubing may need to be replaced throughout your system.
Adapting to the changes and phase-out of the R-22 refrigerant will surely cost you a fortune. However, you can avoid the hassle by having an air conditioning service provider in Plano, TX replace the system. If you need to replace the AC with an eco-friendly refrigerant, contact us at One Hour Air Conditioning & Heating of Dallas.