Your home’s air conditioning system helps you stay cool and comfortable, especially during the hot summer months. As a homeowner, you need to make sure your unit is in good working order through regular air conditioning service and maintenance. However, if it still has R-22 refrigerant, maintaining your home comfort equipment can be quite challenging.
All air conditioning systems use refrigerant to cool down the air that enters them. This pressurized liquid is integral to the process of distributing cool air throughout your home. Needless to say, your air conditioner won’t be able to function as intended without the refrigerant. For many years, R-22 has been the most widely-used refrigerant; however, it’s an ozone-depleting substance.
Due to the negative effects of R-22 on the environment, U.S. consumers and retailers are no longer allowed to produce, import or sell R-22 refrigerant after it was banned about two years ago. While homeowners with R-22 refrigerants are still allowed to use them, there may be a few issues that come with them. To learn more, here Albert Air, an HVAC repair company, provides an overview of what to do if your AC or heat pump still uses R-22 refrigerant.
What Type of Refrigerant Do You Have?
First of all, you need to determine what type of refrigerant you’re using for your air conditioner or heat pump. If your unit was built and installed before January 1, 2010, you’re likely using R-22 refrigerant. Most units produced after 2010 have alternative refrigerants like R410A. You can check the sticker on the side of your unit to be sure. If it no longer has a label and you aren’t sure about the type of refrigerant, you can get in touch with air conditioning service experts. They’ll be able to inspect your AC or heat pump and confirm what type of refrigerant it uses.
What Should You Do if your AC or Heat Pump Uses R-22?
If your HVAC system uses R-22 refrigerant, know that the ban doesn’t require you to replace your unit. Likewise, suppliers also don’t have to get rid of the R-22 they already have. Keep in mind, however, that prices of R-22 will significantly rise as supplies dwindle.
Although you don’t have to get rid of your R-22 refrigerant, there are some options you need to consider, especially if your air conditioning or heat pump system starts to malfunction. Should your system spring a leak or need a repair that requires more refrigerant or flushing the lines, you have to decide between the three following options:
- Have your unit repaired. In the event your unit breaks down and starts to leak R-22 refrigerant, your first option is to have it repaired. Instead of searching online for “air conditioning repair near me,” turn to the experts at Albert Air Inc. and have them inspect the damage to your unit. This option might sound like an easy fix, but according to the Air Conditioning, Heating and Refrigeration Institute, the supply of R-22 will slowly dwindle despite being available for servicing equipment for HVAC units made before 2010. In other words, the price of R-22 will increase eventually.
- Limited R-22 supply may result in you having to shell out more for a repair that requires R-22 refrigerant than to invest in a new air conditioning system or heat pump. Just keep in mind that the system isn’t designed to consume refrigerant like a motor vehicle uses up gasoline. The refrigerant simply flows through a continuous series of coils. If your HVAC technician discovers a leak, they’ll locate the source and perform the necessary repairs rather than just topping it off with a fresh batch of R-22.
- Retrofit your current AC or heat pump. The second option is to retrofit your current R-22 refrigerant system with a converter that allows the use of another refrigerant. However, it’s important to note that your dealer can’t simply replace the R-22 with another refrigerant without additional modifications. R410A isn’t a suitable substitute, as it operates at different pressure levels than R-22. For this reason, you’ll need an experienced HVAC repair technician to disassemble your unit and replace the components with those that work as needed.
Like the previous option, retrofitting your current system can be quite costly. If the technician performs a faulty retrofit, your system’s warranty will be unable to cover the damage. You’ll also have to consult your product manufacturer’s warranty to check if it would remain in effect. Moreover, if you use any refrigerant other than what’s listed on the unit’s nameplate, the safety certification of the system will be rendered void. If you decide to retrofit your system, keep in mind that it may potentially cost you more than replacing it with a new one.
- Replace your old HVAC system with a new one. The third option, which is also the best and most cost-effective course of action, is to replace your old system with a new one. Instead of putting money into repairing or retrofitting your R-22 unit, you may want to consider replacing it. Plenty of new air conditioning and heat pump units offer benefits that likely weren’t available when your current system was installed. For instance, new units run more quietly and efficiently, which helps you save energy and money on your monthly bills. A new HVAC system also boosts the resale value of your home if you decide to move or make use of your home equity.
If you’re looking for affordable solutions, many HVAC companies offer financing options with low monthly payments. If you qualify, financing may help you fit a new, comfortable, energy-efficient system into your budget without having to spend a lot. To ensure that your new system has a long lifespan, make certain to have a reputable HVAC technician perform routine maintenance. Regular HVAC servicing and maintenance will help your system function effectively and last a long time. Your technician will also be able to catch any small issues before they can damage your system.
If you’re looking for “heating or air conditioning repair near me“, get in touch with Albert Air Inc. We’re committed to providing top-quality HVAC services, including installation and maintenance. Give us a call at (714) 526-6368 or fill out our online contact form to book an appointment.