If you still have an older A/C unit, the R-22 phaseout is of concern. Because of depletion of the ozone layer, the federal government, in accordance with the Montreal Protocol of 1987, has cut the production of R-22, the refrigerant which most residential air conditioners have used for many years, to 25 percent of capacity. This has resulted in the cost of R-22 tripling in the last two years. Price will probably keep rising as production will be cut to 10 percent of capacity on Jan. 1, 2015. By 2020, R-22 will be phased out of production. The only remaining supply will be recaptured from existing units.
What does this mean for you? Your Broken Arrow A/C unit could cost as much to recharge once as it would be to retrofit it. Retrofits can be made with parts that use R-410A, R-407C pure refrigerant or HFCF (hydrofluorocarbon) blends. Each has advantages and disadvantages.
R-410A is a cheaper, less efficient replacement refrigerant. It works in a higher pressure system than R-22 so several components in your unit would need to be replaced for it to work correctly. This makes it a mid-range expense and one that we suggest only if you cannot afford a new unit.
R-407C is another mid-priced option. This refrigerant requires the addition of a special lubricant to work in your older unit. It is nearly as efficient as R-22, but the cost to add the lubricant offsets some of the savings.
HFCF blends are considered only for units that are in extremely good condition. Those with leaky seals or broken gaskets cannot be retrofitted to this option. The refrigerants used (R-438A and R-422D) work with your existing gauges and offer comparable efficiency to R-22.
If you have the money, we suggest buying a new, more efficient air conditioner. The R-22 phaseout could be a catalyst for upgrading to a unit up to 50 percent more efficient than the one you are currently using.
For more information about the R-22 phaseout, contact the Broken Arrow heating and cooling experts at Air Assurance today.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in the Tulsa and Broken Arrow, Oklahoma area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
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