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How Does Air Conditioning Refrigerant Phaseout Affect Me?

August 05, 2020

You might not think a lot about how your air conditioner operates, but it requires refrigerant to keep your residence cool. This refrigerant is controlled by environmental regulation, since it contains chemicals.

Subject to when your air conditioner was added to your home, it may require R-22, R-410A or R-32 refrigerant. We’ll review the differences and which air conditioner refrigerants are being phased out in the Bay Area, as well as how these phaseouts affect you.

What’s R-22 and Why is It No Longer Being Made?

If your air conditioner was added before 2010, it probably uses Freon®. You can learn if your air conditioner contains it by calling us at 510-343-9841. You can also examine the name plate on your air conditioner condenser, which is situated outside your house. This sticker will include details on what kind of refrigerant your AC uses.

Freon, which is also known as R-22, has chlorine. Scientists consider this chemical to be damaging to the earth’s ozone layer and one that contributes to global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency, which regulates refrigerants in the United States, outlawed its production and import in January 2020.

I Use an Air Conditioner with R-22. Do I Need to Get a New One?

It differs. If your air conditioning is working fine, you can continue to use it. With yearly air conditioner maintenance, you can expect your air conditioning to run around 15–20 years. However, the Department of Energy notes that substituting a 10-year-old air conditioner could save you 20–40% on annual cooling costs!

If you don’t replace your air conditioner, it can create a problem if you have to have air conditioning repair in the future, specifically for refrigerant. Repairs may be higher-priced, since only small levels of recycled and reclaimed R-22 is available.

With the end of R-22, many new air conditioners now use Puron®. Also called R-410A, this refrigerant was developed to keep the ozone layer healthy. Since it requires a varying pressure level, it doesn’t work with air conditioners that use R-22 for cooling.

However, Puron still has the potential to create global warming. As a consequence, it might also eventually be phased out. Although it hasn’t been mandated yet for residential air conditioners, it’s likely sometime this decade.

What Refrigerant Will Take the Place of R-410A?

In preparation of the end, some brands have initiated using R-32 in new air conditioners. This refrigerant is classified low for global warming potential—around one-third less than R-410A. And it also decreases energy expenditure by around 10%, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report. That’s savings that might be forwarded on to you through your energy expenses.

Contra Costa Heating & AC Can Help with All Your Air Conditioning Needs

In brief, the modifications to air conditioner refrigerant probably won’t concern you greatly until you need repairs. But as we went over beforehand, refrigerant repairs might be more costly since there are the reduced quantities that are accessible.

In addition to that, your air conditioner frequently needs repair at the worst time, often on the warmest day when we’re getting a lot of other appointments for AC repair.

If your air conditioner uses a phased out refrigerant or is getting old, we advise getting a modern, energy-efficient air conditioner. This delivers a hassle-free summer and could even reduce your electrical costs, especially if you choose an ENERGY STAR®-rated air conditioner. Plus, Contra Costa Heating & AC offers many financing solutions to make your new air conditioner fit your budget. Contact us at 510-343-9841 to start now with a free estimate.