If you’ve had your HVAC system serviced recently, you may be aware that Freon (generically known as R22) is out.
This AC coolant was used for decades, but was eventually found to cause ozone depletion through the release of CFCs in its manufacture and use.
Scientist and manufacturers found the cooling solution in the product Puron (also known as R410A), which does not release harmful CFCs that contribute to global warming.
These changes directly affect homeowners and servicer providers of residential HVAC systems, especially because R22 will not be manufactured after 2020. HVAC providers made new systems that use R410A available since 2003 to help ease the transition. Owners of older systems will need to be aware of the restrictions.
The R22 deadline in 2020 may seem like a long time away, but it’s already making waves in the HVAC industry. Leaks, replacements, and overall costs for maintenance and repair directly affect homeowners.
AC Coolant Leaks
If your system currently calls for R22, any diagnosed leaks can still be refilled with the R22 coolant, for as long as it’s available. Because the coolant is being phased out, it is less available and therefore more expensive.
Complicating matters further, if your R22 system forms a leak, you can’t just fix the leak and pump it full of R410A. In this case, you have two choices:
- Refill the system with R22, which is becoming increasingly expensive and scarce. This will require continued reliance on the outdated coolant.
- Replace the entire HVAC with an updated system.
What Are My Replacement HVAC Options?
HVAC manufacturers are still unloading stock of R22 systems, but they are no longer allowed to sell them pre-filled with Freon. If you purchase one of these older systems, a certified technician will need to fill up the coils with R22 after the system is installed.
If you have a leak in your R22 system, it’s probably in your best financial interest (and the best interests of the ozone layer) to have an updated R410A system installed. These HVAC units are more energy-efficient, and should they form an unfortunate leak, the released gas won’t contribute to global warming.
Older Freon HVAC Systems Are More Expensive
In the long run, replacing your current Freon system with one that uses R410A or Puron will save you money. The economic effect of banning R22 by the year 2020 has pushed the price of existing R22 way up. Leaking Freon units can be repaired, but this is a only temporary fix. Eventually the supply of R22 will be so low as to be prohibitively expensive, and an entire system replacement will be necessary.
A newer system may actually help you save on your utility bills. R410A’s modern formula makes it more effective at removing heat from the air, which means your system won’t be working as hard.
If you are in Nashville and think that your system is leaking coolant, a certified Jewell technician can advise you on your next steps. Whether it’s HVAC maintenance, repair, or a total system replacement, we’ve got you covered.