Is Your Air Conditioner Still Running with Freon?

As we reported earlier this year, the Environmental Protection Agency will prohibit the production and import of new Freon/HCFC-22 or R-22, a common refrigerant used in older air conditioning equipment, as of January 1, 2020. This refrigerant has been in the process of being phased out for years because it has been classified as an ozone depleting substance. All newer air conditioning equipment uses a different more environmentally-friendly refrigerant instead. And Carrier has used the new refrigerant since 2006, far ahead of the sunset date for phasing out the production of R-22 that began in 2010. But unfortunately, there are likely some air conditioners out there in the Houston area that are still chugging along with the old refrigerant. The EPA has a great set of frequently asked questions to which you can refer.

How Do I Know Which Refrigerant My Air Conditioner Uses?

On the side of your outside condensing unit, you can find a sticker with the serial number and a lot of different information about your air conditioning system including when and where it was made and what refrigerant it uses. Look for the words R-22 / HCFC-22 or Freon. This is how you can tell what refrigerant your system uses. Also, keep in mind that if your central air conditioning system was manufactured in 2010 and beyond, you more than likely are using different refrigerant. The most common alternative is R-410A, which is known by a variety of names including GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, Forane® 410A, and Puron®.

What Does the Ban Mean for Air Conditioners Using R-22?

What this ban means is that any refrigerant-related repairs are going to be very expensive if they can be made at all once supplies dwindle. The supplies of reclaimed R-22 will be very expensive. We have already seen prices go up all year long. This means it may be more cost effective to replace your unit with one that uses the new refrigerant. You may also realize significant savings resulting from a newer air conditioning unit that is more energy efficient. Sometimes it’s just smarter to change out your system before it breaks down in the summer when you really need it.

Are You Selling or Buying a Home?

If you are selling or buying a home, you can bet the home inspector will look at how old the Central Air and Heating system is. If you have newer equipment that doesn’t run R-22, it will be a selling point. Conversely, a home for sale with older equipment is a bigger risk than it normally would be mostly because that risk is known. A system with R-22 will certainly require replacement sooner rather than later.

What’s the Best Timing for Replacing Air Conditioners?

It’s not all bad news. The best time for replacing Central Air and Heating systems along the Gulf Coast is definitely in the off-season. The off-season in the Houston area is fall, spring and even Winter, since Winters are typically mild. This means that there are often special financing available for replacing equipment, more HVAC technician availability, and plenty of time for you to weigh the options. Every manufacturer offers several levels of equipment – from basic to standard and high-end, multi-speed models. Whichever system you select, all of them will have the more environmentally friendly refrigerant, newer safety measures, and greater energy efficiency than the model you currently own.

Let Us Help

So while the new EPA rules on R-22 doesn’t mean you need to scrap a system that is working well, now is a good time to learn if your HVAC system runs the old refrigerant so you’ll be informed when it does come time to repair or replace it. And if you’re in the market for a new air conditioner or heater for your home or business, call Rob and Kenny at Terry’s A/C and Heating at 281-495-7830 for smart advice about all the options that are available and the latest specials. Find out what customers say about our service and what makes us different from others serving the Katy, Richmond, Rosenberg, Sugar Land, Memorial, and surrounding Southwest Houston area.