The Cost of R-22 Refrigerant
All air conditioning and refrigeration equipment work under the same principle: refrigerant absorbs heat from an interior space and expels it to the exterior, leaving chilled air behind. The technology is easy to take for granted, but big changes in EPA regulations could have you paying more attention to what refrigerant your air conditioner uses.
Refrigerants from the early days depleted the ozone, so once scientists realized this, R22 became the replacement refrigerant. R22 was better than previous refrigerants, but it was only meant as a transition product until the day when more eco-friendly alternatives could be developed.
That day arrived in 2010 when the EPA banned the manufacture of new R22 air conditioners, driving the production of R22 refrigerant down 75 percent. The plan was set back in 1990 as part of an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer. The rule doesn’t require homeowners to replace existing R22 equipment, so there’s no need to panic!
However, as the phase out continues, the manufacture of new R22 will be officially banned in 2020. Existing air conditioners can still be recharged with reclaimed or recycled refrigerant after this date, but the R22 price has already increased as production has dropped by 90 percent. Costs will only continue to climb as supplies dwindle even more.
What Can You Do?
One logical response to leaky refrigerant lines is to have them replaced rather than repeatedly paying to top them off. This helps your R22 air conditioner run as efficiently as possible at the lowest cost to you.
The other response is to realize that your air conditioner installed before the ban in 2010 may be costing you more money than it’s worth! In this case, it could be time to replace your air conditioner with a model that runs on cleaner, ozone-friendly R410A refrigerant (also called Puron). The savings on future repairs—not to mention more efficient performance—could justify the cost to upgrade your air conditioner.
Air Conditioning Services in Central Jersey
If you’re tired of paying a high R22 price, it may be time to browse the selection of new cooling equipment from Arctic Air Conditioning. We can help you with all your air conditioning needs in Central Jersey. Contact us to schedule an installation!