Should You Repair or Replace Your Air Conditioning System?

April 30, 2017

Summer is coming and that means grilling, swimming, and warmer weather. It also means air conditioning season and this summer air conditioner repairs will come with rising costs for the refrigerant R22, more commonly known as Freon™.

We talked to you about the R22 phase out earlier this year, and creation of R22 refrigerant has already dropped by 90%. By 2020, production will be discontinued. Homeowners, as a result, face the decision of whether to repair or to replace a system using R22 refrigerant from both a budget and environmental perspective.

The R22 phase out has added new factors to consider if you are thinking about repairing or replacing your air conditioning system. For instance, some refrigerant producers are selling less expensive alternatives to R22, often described as “drop-in” replacement refrigerant, but those alternatives are cheaper only in the short run.

“Lennox®, one of the leading A/C system manufacturers, has offered research that shows these lower cost alternate refrigerants are not able to work with the lubricating oil used in R22 units,” said Dave Moody, Vice President of Marketing at Service Experts Heating and Air Conditioning. “Recharging older A/C systems with these alternative refrigerants could actually damage the unit and create more high-cost problems. These so called drop-in refrigerants will also void any applicable manufacturer’s warranty.”

Because of the R22 phase out, the heating and cooling industry is seeing the cost to repair older A/C equipment needing additional R22 refrigerant increase by 300% to 400%, and that cost is only expected to keep increasing as summer approaches.

New A/C systems use the more environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant, a different refrigerant that cannot be mixed or used in an existing A/C system or heat pump designed for R22. Currently, reclamation and recycling of R22 is expected to be sufficient for existing systems, albeit at a much higher cost, providing time to upgrade equipment before the phase-out period.

“Homeowners aren’t required to replace their air conditioner now, but it’s good for them to know their options in this situation,” added Moody. “It’s important to know you can’t blend R22 and R410A. When a new R410A system is installed, both the outdoor equipment and coil need replacing, and the interconnecting refrigerant tubing needs inspecting. These new units are often far more energy-efficient and can considerably save on energy costs, sound pollution, or even utilize alternative energy sources like solar energy.”

The common life-span of many home A/C systems is 8-10 years, which will help homeowners determine the cost benefit of either paying the premium price for R22 to repair older equipment, versus upgrading. Additional benefits to upgrading include the opportunity to take advantage of energy rebates being offered and enhancing your home’s energy-efficiency. New equipment will also have longer warranty periods, calmer operation, and the peace of mind of a more ozone-friendly refrigerant, not to mention improved home comfort through more advanced technology.

To ask about your repair or replacement options, call Gordon's Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning today at 405-432-2197 today.

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