You might not think much about how your air conditioner operates, but it relies on refrigerant to keep your residence cold. This refrigerant is subject to environmental rules, since it contains chemicals.
Subject to when your air conditioner was put in, it may need 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, plus how these phaseouts impact you.
What’s R-22 and Why Is It Phased Out?
If your air conditioner was installed before 2010, it possibly has Freon®. You can find out if your air conditioner contains it by contacting us at 510-343-9841. You can also look at the name plate on your air conditioner condenser, which is located outside your house. This sticker will include details on what type of refrigerant your AC has.
Freon, which is also known as R-22, contains chlorine. Scientists consider Freon to be bad for the earth’s ozone layer and one that results in global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency, which governs refrigerants in the United States, barred its creation and import in January 2020.
Should I Replace My R-22 Air Conditioner?
It depends. If your air conditioning is running correctly, you can continue to keep it. With yearly air conditioner maintenance, you can expect your AC to work around 15–20 years. However, the Department of Energy notes that removing a 10-year-old air conditioner could save you 20–40% on annual cooling bills!
If you don’t install a new air conditioner, it might create an issue if you require air conditioning repair down the road, specifically for refrigerant. Repairs could be pricier, since only reduced levels of recycled and reclaimed R-22 is on hand.
With the discontinuation of R-22, many new air conditioners now rely on Puron®. Also referred to as R-410A, this refrigerant was developed to keep the ozone layer strong. As it calls for an incompatible pressure level, it isn’t compatible with air conditioners that rely on R-22 for cooling.
However, Puron still has the potential to contribute to global warming. As a consequence, it may also sometime be phased out. Although it hasn’t been mandated yet for residential air conditioners, it’s anticipated sometime this decade.
What Refrigerant Will Take Over R-410A?
In preparation of the end, some brands have initiated using R-32 in new air conditioners. This refrigerant rates low for global warming possibility—around one-third less than R-410A. And it also decreases energy use by about 10%, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report. That’s savings that may be sent on to you through your energy bills.
Contra Costa Heating & AC Can Provide Support with All Your Air Conditioning Needs
In summary, the changes to air conditioner refrigerant probably won’t concern you very much until you require repairs. But as we went over beforehand, refrigerant repairs can be pricier since there are the low levels available.
In addition to that, your air conditioner frequently malfunctions at the worst time, often on the muggiest day when we’re getting a lot of other calls for AC repair.
If your air conditioner relies on an outdated refrigerant or is more than 15 years old, we recommend upgrading to a modern, energy-efficient air conditioner. This delivers a stress-free summer and could even decrease your utility expenses, especially if you get an ENERGY STAR®-rated air conditioner. Plus, Contra Costa Heating & AC has many financing options to make your new air conditioner even more affordable. Contact us at 510-343-9841 to start today with a free estimate.