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Does Your AC Use R-22 Refrigerant? Here’s What You Should Consider

refrigerantIf you want a cool home, then nothing beats a central air conditioning system to do away with the extreme heat and humidity of summer. The problem is when an HVAC system malfunctions during the summer, and if it is a 15-year+ system, homeowners have to pull up their socks and make a big decision — do we repair or replace! The reason is due to the federal government’s mandatory R-22 phaseout. In other words, air conditioning systems that work with R-22 refrigerant will have to put these older models to rest for these reasons:

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The Total Ban Of R-22 In The United States

R-22 is the cooling substance used in air conditioning systems. This refrigerant used to be the standard. It effectively enabled HVAC systems to remove the indoor heat and pump it outdoors. Over time, because of it’s negative impact on the environment, it has become unfavorable. That, combined with government regulations, has left the HVAC industry scrambling to develop better units and products that are safer for the environment. That said, January 1, 2020 is the deadline for importing and making the controversial R-22 refrigerant in the United States.

Does R22 Continue To Be Available In New Jersey?

The answer is yes. And, it will continue to be available until the end of the 2019 calendar year. However, due to its large demand and limited production, it has become extremely costly. There have been instances where property owners have paid as much as $2000 to recharge a central air conditioning system! Of course, that means that the larger your air conditioning system, the higher it will be to recharge the r22 refrigerant.

So, that leaves smart homeowners wondering whether these ridiculous recharging costs for their older central cooling units are better than an upgrade to a modern and more energy-efficient air conditioning unit.

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All homeowners need to understand is that, by January 1, 2020, there will no more R-22 refrigerant available. That means, should your air conditioning system require recharging after that date, the only thing you’ll be able to do is to replace the HVAC system. So, don’t wait any longer and take advantage of the low prices now if your home has an older AC system.

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Reasons Behind Banning R22: Environmental Damage

environmentally friendly refrigerantThe obvious reason for banning R22 is the negative impact it caused on the environment. R-22 refrigerant has HCFCs or hydrochlorofluorocarbons[1] which destroy the ozone layer. That’s a massive problem for the planet because that leaves us vulnerable to the dangerous ultraviolet rays and radiation from the sun. Though we have caused a great deal of damage to the ozone layer, it did shrink over time after HCFCs and other ozone-depleting substances were banned in some countries around the world.[2] Therefore, you have two reasons to switch from an older air conditioning system that functions with R22 refrigerant – you’ll save money in the long run, and you’ll use a safer system for the environment since modern AC units use Puron (R-410a).

Comparing The Energy Efficiency Of R22 And R410a: What’s The Better Choice?

Differences Between R-22 Refrigerant & R-410a

R-22
R-410a

Was the common refrigerant before the phaseout took place.
A new environmentally friendly refrigerant by the brand named Puron and is used in modern air conditioning systems.

R-22 is not as energy efficient. It does not absorb and release heat as effectively.
More competent as R-410a can absorb and release heat efficiently.

Less environmentally friendly.
More ecologically friendly.

Used in manufactured air conditioning systems before 2010.
R-410a is suitable for all air conditioners that are newly-manufactured.

Causes a reduction of the ozone layer.
Does not contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer.

Its use is phased out so R-22 refrigerant prices are expensive.
Avoid the risk of overheating and breaking down due to tougher and durable air conditioner parts.

As an HVAC system ages, its efficiency naturally deteriorates. Over time, dust and debris end up accumulating on all the surfaces. Eventually, friction causes wear and tear. With time, cracks and leaks can develop as pressure builds up in the system. Of course, older air conditioning systems can still function and cool homes. However, they do so by using much more energy than they did when they were brand-new. So, by using more power, that also increases costs with regards to your HVAC repair costs and energy bill. Considering these arguments, doesn’t it make more sense financially to purchase a newer model that’s more cost-efficient?

Additionally, there have been many advancements made with regards to technology related to heating and cooling systems, making them extremely energy-efficient. Therefore, comparing everything involved with an air conditioning system, one that’s 15 years old or more, or one that is brand-new, it’s obvious to see the superiority of the newer, energy-efficient unit. It just makes much more sense to choose a new system made in 2019, when considering the degradation of efficiency and normal wear and tear of an older unit.

The Cost Per Pound Of R22 Refrigerant In 2019: Why Is R-22 Refrigerant Price So Costly?

cost of r22Although R22 is currently still available in its final year of being legally sold or made, r-22 refrigerant price is literally through the roof. That’s because it has been phased out over several years, discouraging manufacturers from continuing to make the refrigerant. Combining the high demand and low supply of R-22, it continues to push r-22 refrigerant price upwards since there is still a market for it among property owners with older systems. There will not be any relief in sight, and instead, the prices of R22 will continue to climb, until the ban takes effect.

Should your refrigerant leak or fall below certain levels, you’ll be dealing with an extremely large and unpleasant air conditioner repair bill this summer. As the summer progresses, any air conditioning repair on a unit that requires R22 to function will undoubtedly be higher than it is right now. According to experts in the field, the R-22 pricing will steadily increase as we near the peak season, and as its supply dwindles even further.

The Central AC Prices: HVAC Tax Credits In 2019

The government has offered various perks to consumers to encourage property owners to switch from old cooling systems to newer, environmentally-friendlier air conditioners. Property owners will be able to benefit from significant tax breaks that will help them offset the costs of their newer cooling system. The Air Conditioning Contractors of America or ACCA can help you with those calculations.

The savings related to the upgrade of an air-conditioning system has to do with what’s known as SEER, or the Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio. You can expect to save more when you choose a higher rating in the form of different incentives, from rebates to tax credits. Not only do you benefit from lowered prices when upgrading to a newer model, but the better the SEER ratings, the lower your cost to run the equipment, so you’ll get a cooler home for much less.

It’s similar to a car and the mpg that it gets. You’ll get more comfort for less. Today’s best air conditioners use 30% to 50% less energy to produce the same amount of cooling as air conditioners made in the mid 1970s. Even if your air conditioner is only 10 years old, you may save 20% to 40% of your cooling energy costs by replacing it with a newer, more efficient model.[3]

For more information on the tax breaks and other savings regarding HVAC upgrades in New Jersey, contact Point Bay Fuel. You can call us at (732) 349-5059 today to make an appointment for free HVAC assessment.

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Conclusion

Point Bay Fuel, a reputable HVAC service company, can provide you with exceptional and affordable HVAC services for your property. We take pride in our heating and cooling services, installations, repairs, and maintenance.

We do all we can to provide a friendly service and affordable prices to satisfy our customers.

Contact Point Bay Fuel to learn more about our services and systems today! One of our professionals will be able to meet you and provide a free, in-home consultation. No matter what your concerns, we’ll find the best solutions for your air conditioning needs. Whatever the question, we’ve got the answer. Call us now!

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Take advantage of our free, in-home estimates. Call our office to schedule an appointment. Click here to contact us now or call us at (732) 349-5059 to speak to one of our home comfort specialists!

[1] Phaseout of Ozone-Depleting Substances (ODS) (https://www.epa.gov/ods-phaseout)
[2] Ozone depletion, explained (https://www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/global-warming/ozone-depletion/)
[3] US Department of Energy (https://www.energy.gov/energysaver/central-air-conditioning)