If you have been having issues with your air conditioning system, then your main options are to repair or replace it. For the most part, if the unit is new, then it is cheaper and faster to fix it. For an older system, however, repairs may be less economical. You might find that you are better off investing in an air conditioner replacement. This is particularly true if you have an air conditioner that uses R-22 refrigerant since this product is phased out. Currently, it is illegal to make or import it into the United States. Homeowners that have R22 air conditioning systems can still use their units. However, recharging the unit if it has a coolant leak will come with a high price tag. For those who already are having trouble with their HVAC unit, then it makes sense to use that as an opportunity to address the R-22 problem at the same time.
The question is, should you replace your air conditioning system, or would it be better to retrofit it?
R22 Replacement: Why R-22 Was Banned From Use
- 1 R22 Replacement: Why R-22 Was Banned From Use
It may be helpful to understand why R-22 was phased out. The refrigerant contains HCFCs. These are ‘greenhouse gases’ that work very well as refrigerants. However, if they are released into the environment, then they damage the ozone layer. The environment has already suffered a lot of damage, and governments have come together to agree on ways to make sure that we limit the damage that modern lifestyles have on the environment. Cutting down on the use of HCFCs and other ozone-depleting substances is one action that many governments agreed upon. New HCFC-free refrigerants are available, and R-22 and other dangerous substances are now banned. The final phase of the R22 ban was on January 1, 2020.
What The R-22 Ban Means For New Jersey Homeowners
The ban means that if you have an HVAC system that relies on R-22, it will directly affect you. If there is a refrigerant leak, then you will not be able to top off the refrigerant after fixing the leak. Because we have reached the end of the phaseout, you will need to pay a significant premium to buy R-22 due to dwindling supplies.
Older units that are still working are probably not as efficient as they once were. Cooling units decrease in efficiency as they age. Furthermore, with advancements in the HVAC industry, modern units are more efficient than those from even ten years ago. All R22 units are now at the end of their lifespan. Therefore, even if your unit still functions properly, it does not do so efficiently.
Furthermore, if you find that your AC unit is not operating as well as it could because it is low on refrigerant, performance will continue to degrade if the refrigerant is not topped off. Regardless, an old unit will be more expensive to run in terms of energy, utility bills, HVAC repair costs, and more.
The financial consequences alone should be a good motivator that will encourage people to get new air conditioning units. Those who cling on to their old units will pay astronomical costs for r22 refrigerant prices should their system leak. However, most companies that manufactured R-22 stopped making any more before the impending ban. They were just looking to sell out of their remaining stock and focus on the other refrigerants that are legal. The good news is that if you do replace your existing HVAC unit, there are some very eco-friendly options out there.
R-410A and The Other Alternatives To R-22
When R-22 was banned, there were several alternatives brought to the market. One option is R-410A, easily identifiable because of the pink cylinders. It was invented back in 1991 and several companies make it now, with Honeywell being the original. It is a green-friendly gas, and it is widely available. Another option is R-421A, which is newer and is considered the ‘refrigerant of the future.’
Air Conditioner Retrofit Vs Full AC Upgrade?
In some cases, you may be able to get a tax break if you buy a new HVAC unit, but even with that, it can be expensive to do so. Also, not all households have an air conditioner replacement in their budget.
Retrofitting is another option, and it is something that a lot of families choose to do. Getting a retrofit means that you can keep your old unit and use new refrigerants. While this is an appealing idea, it does not always work out that well.
R-22 tends to work best at a lower pressure than many of the newer R-22 replacements. Older air conditioning units were made to operate at that low pressure. Many modern air conditioners are not able to handle running at higher pressures. This issue can lead to problems such as refrigerant leaks with the coil, condenser, and other parts of the unit. Therefore, if you pay for an R22 retrofit, you will also, more than likely, also end up needing to replace the AC unit anyway. Therefore, an air conditioner retrofit is basically a band-aid fix and not a long-lasting solution.
When you do a full upgrade, you get the warranty with the unit, an improvement in energy efficiency, and the knowledge that the unit was designed to work with the new, legal refrigerants. You are less likely to need costly repairs, and the new air conditioner will cost less to run. You can take advantage of the current tax breaks to bring down the cost of the unit. Also, you can enjoy the benefits associated with having a new quiet and efficient air conditioning unit. Be sure to call Skylands Energy Service today to find out more information.
When To Replace Your Heating And Cooling System At The Same Time
If you have the funds or credit to do so it might make sense to replace both your heating and cooling systems at the same time. Doing so will help you to save money and will offer better performance in all weathers. Indeed, mixing old and new can cause problems because of the mismatched components. Some companies will not honor warranties when you mix old and new units that are not compatible with each other, leading to problems in the long run. You should not cut corners because it can leave you out of pocket in the long term.
Be sure to ask the HVAC experts at Skylands Energy Service for more information. We can find an energy-efficient HVAC system for your home that fits within your budget.
Call Skylands Energy Service For All Of Your Heating & Cooling Requirements
Skylands Energy Service is a trusted HVAC service provider that offers affordable HVAC repairs, replacements, and tune-ups for residential and commercial properties. Our team of NATE certified and experienced HVAC technicians find the most practical solutions for all of your heating and cooling needs. We back all of the work that we do with guarantees to ensure customer satisfaction. Call now to schedule a free, no-obligation in-home consultation.
Contact Skylands Energy Service today to learn more about the systems that we provide and to arrange for a free, no-obligation consultation. Click here to contact us today or give us a call at (908) 707-1776 if you have any questions.