Our goal at Bellows Plumbing, Heating, & Air is to keep clients informed about their home’s plumbing and HVAC systems. Recently the rules on air conditioner and refrigerant they use has change so we wanted to take some time to update you on what changed and what to expect. The recent EPA report we received stated:
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) announced its final phase down schedule regarding production and importation of HCFC-22 on Oct 16. The order calls for an immediate drop from 51 million pounds allowed in 2014 to 22 million pounds beginning Jan 1, 2015. Subsequently, 18 million lbs of new and imported R-22 will be allowed in 2016, 13 million lbs in 2017, 9 million lbs in 2018, 4 million lbs in 2019. No new or imported R-22 will be allowed in the U.S. on or after Jan. 1, 2020.
So what might this mean to you as a consumer? What are some of the options?
First option is wait and see. There’s nothing wrong inherently wrong with an R22 air conditioner. The problem lies in what to do should you develop a line leak or if your air conditioner breaks down. In the event of a leak our technicians can often times insert a leak freeze solution that should seal up the leak. In the event of a larger breakdown it will come down to cost of the repair. In general, when an air conditioner has more than $1,500 in repairs, or if the compressor or evaporative coil are the issue, then replacement is a better option to consider.
Second option is to purchase a high energy efficient system. Modern R410a air conditioners are not only better for the environment, but today's air conditioners less energy, provide cost savings in maintenance and electric costs, are quieter to operate, and offer a green alternative to R-22 units. Consider this, most R22 air conditioner operate at around 8 SEER (SEER=season energy efficiency rating). The new minimum energy efficiency in California is 14SEER. For the average household this 8 SEER to 14 SEER improvement translates to roughly $1,800 in energy savings over 10 years.
But what should you know before purchasing a new system? The best time to switch is before you're hit by the high costs of repairing an air conditioning system. Take into account the age of your current unit (as a general rule, systems should be older than 10 years); look for the Energy Star® label to save up to 40 percent on utility bills; and consider the minimum seasonal energy efficiency ratio (SEER) specification.
Contact one of our Comfort Specialists today for a free evaluation of your air conditioning system.