R22 refrigerant has been the most commonly used refrigerant for air conditioners in the United States for decades. It is a compound that includes chlorine and fluorine, which may potentially deplete the ozone layer and help lead to the greenhouse effect. In 1987, an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol was universally ratified and was designed to phase out substances that contributed to ozone depletion. Because the United States was a party to this treaty, the EPA decided to phase out R22 and, by January 2020, all production of R22 will be banned. Prior to this date; there have been exceptions for R22 to service existing air conditioners, but because it is no longer in production the cost for R22 has continued to rise.
If you own an older model air conditioner that still uses R22, you will be faced with the decision on whether to repair or replace it. Although it is a frustrating thought to think of replacing an air conditioner that still works, it may not be worth the cost to continue to keep servicing and repairing it. Should you wait until it needs service and then replace or should you bear the added cost and wait until the unit breaks down completely? Read below for your options and what implications they will have.
Wait It Out and Suffer the Costs – Repair the Unit
Who wants to replace an air conditioner that still works? No one does! Unfortunately, the day will come that you have to replace that air conditioner; regardless of whether it still works, because R22 will no longer be available. Right now, you can still purchase R22; albeit at a higher price, but that won’t last much longer. After January 2020; when production stops, the price will skyrocket.
If you decide to keep repairing the unit, keep in mind that you will pay higher costs, and R22 will be increasingly difficult to find.
Retrofit May Be an Option
It may be possible to retrofit your current air conditioner and use a replacement gas that is environmentally friendly. Unfortunately, this option isn’t available for every system, so you would need to speak to your HVAC technician about whether this is an option for you. Be very careful, because currently, most manufacturers do not accept “drop-in” refrigerants as a replacement for R22.
Pull Off the Band-aid and Replace Your R22 Air Conditioner in Charlotte
With the rising costs of R22 and eventually being told there isn’t any R22 left, replacing your unit is a sound decision. Only you know your financial circumstances, but if you’re able to replace instead of repair, it may make the most fiscal sense. As mentioned above, you’ll have to replace it one day anyway, and it doesn’t make much sense to keep buying expensive refrigerant that will eventually be obsolete.
If you decide to replace, there are two paths you can take. One, you can wait until your unit needs repairs and then replace it, or you could just get it over with and replace the system now.
It may be tempting to wait until you have a repair or a refrigerant leak to replace, but depending on your needs and circumstances…..it may be your best option to replace it now.
Think about it like this……While your home still has a working air conditioner, you can take your time and research the options for your home. Do your due diligence and consult a professional at Andersen Heating & Cooling about what is the best option for you. You’ll also want to make sure you purchase a unit that is the correct size for your home. A system that is oversized or undersized will lead to an inefficient air conditioning system and higher utility bills.
If you wait to replace, you may find yourself in the middle of summer without air conditioning for an extended period of time. Factor in the time needed to choose a new unit, whether the HVAC company has the unit in stock, and installation time. Either way, if you choose to replace, at least do your research and speak to a professional HVAC technician at Andersen Heating & Cooling about your next steps.