You might not think a lot about how your air conditioner works, but it requires refrigerant to keep your house cool. This refrigerant is bound by environmental laws, because of the chemicals it contains.
Based on when your air conditioner was installed, it may use R-22, R-410A or R-32 refrigerant. We’ll discuss the differences and which air conditioner refrigerants are being phased out in Rapid City, plus how these phaseouts affect you.
What’s R-22 and Why Is It No Longer Being Made?
If your air conditioner was put in before 2010, it likely contains Freon®. You can find out if your air conditioner has it by contacting us at 605-206-3766. You can also look at the name plate on your air conditioner condenser, which is located outside your house. This sticker will include information on what type of refrigerant your AC needs.
Freon, which is also known as R-22, includes chlorine. Scientists consider R-22 to be harmful to the earth’s ozone layer and one that leads to global warming. The Environmental Protection Agency, which manages refrigerants in the United States, barred its production and import in January 2020.
I Use an Air Conditioner with R-22. Do I Need to Get a New One?
It depends. If your air conditioning is operating as designed, you can continue to use it. With yearly air conditioner maintenance, you can expect your AC to run around 15–20 years. However, the Department of Energy notes that removing a 10-year-old air conditioner could save you 20–40% on summertime cooling expenses!
If you don’t replace your air conditioner, it might lead to difficulties if you need air conditioning repair later on, specifically for refrigerant. Repairs can be higher-priced, because only limited quantities of recycled and reclaimed R-22 is available.
With the phaseout of R-22, most new air conditioners now have Puron®. Also referred to as R-410A, this refrigerant was created to keep the ozone layer in good shape. Since it requires a different pressure level, it doesn’t match air conditioners that rely on R-22 for cooling.
However, Puron still has the likelihood to lead to global warming. As a result, it could also ultimately be phased out. Although it hasn’t been disclosed yet for residential air conditioners, it’s anticipated sometime this decade.
What Refrigerant Will Take the Place of R-410A?
In preparation of the discontinuation, some companies have started using R-32 in new air conditioners. This refrigerant ranks low for global warming likelihood—about one-third less than R-410A. And it also decreases energy use by around 10%, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment Report. That’s savings that could be forwarded on to you through your energy costs.
Precision Mechanical Can Provide Support with All Your Air Conditioning Needs
In short, the alterations to air conditioner refrigerant probably won’t affect you very much until you require repairs. But as we talked about previously, refrigerant-related repairs can be more expensive due to the restricted amounts available.
Not to mention, your air conditioner typically breaks down at the worst time, frequently on the muggiest day when we’re getting a lot of other calls for AC repair.
If your air conditioner relies on a discontinued refrigerant or is aging, we advise getting a modern, energy-efficient air conditioner. This ensures a stress-free summer and might even reduce your cooling bills, especially if you get an ENERGY STAR®-rated system. Plus, Precision Mechanical provides many financing options to make your new air conditioner fit your budget. Contact us at 605-206-3766 to start now with a free estimate.