Since the early 1990’s a radical shift has been taking place in the air conditioning industry. R-22 refrigerant – also known as Freon – has been completely phased out of production in favor of a superior refrigerant called R410a, also known as Puron. The reasons for this shift in refrigerant are mainly environmental. R-22 poses serious environmental risks as leaks in A/C compressors contribute to releasing hydrochloroflourocarbons (HFCF’s) into the air, depleting the ozone layer and contributing to greenhouse warming. R410a A/C compressors are also more energy efficient, another important factor when considering the environmental impact of home cooling.
WHY IS THIS IMPORTANT IF YOU ALREADY OWN AN R-22 AIR CONDITIONER?
- Replacement is the best option
Replacing an R-22 unit with an R410a unit is your best option. While it may seem expensive up front, it is the most economical way to address obsolete equipment. Ensuring you’re A/C is safe and efficient is highly essential in the new reality of climate change and our responsibility to improving the environment.
- R-22 not compatible with R410a
Something else to consider is the difficulty in completing repairs or maintenance on existing R-22 units. Parts and refrigerant for R410a units are not interchangeable at all with R-22 units despite what any retailer or servicer may claim. Any retrofitting unless developed specifically by the manufacturer only poses further environmental risks and most certainly will decrease the performance of the unit.
- Dwindling parts and supplies
The option to repair or refill R-22 refrigerant units will soon not be an option. The production of Freon and R-22 replacement parts was banned in 2010. It is only a matter of time before there is no more R-22 refrigerant available as well as any replacement parts. Not to mention any remaining stock will only skyrocket in price as supply dwindles and demand increases. We have already been experiencing this as a servicer for years as R-22 refrigerant is now double the cost of R410a refrigerant.
BEWARE OF FALSE CLAIMS FOR REPAIR AND SYSTEM RETROFITTING
With the ban on R-22, many retailers and other establishments are taking advantage of the market and advertising at-home kits to “top up” the R-22 refrigerant in your air conditioner. Air conditioners are pressurized systems and mixing or pumping down of the unit in any way which it was not designed is dangerous and will not only surely damage the unit but could pose serious safety risks. Most of these at home kits contain dangerous chemicals. Your air conditioner should always be serviced and inspected by a professional HVAC professional. There are simply some tasks that the homeowner can’t complete without the certified expertise.
UPGRADE IT – DON’T RETROFIT SOMETHING THAT IS OBSOLETE
Some manufacturers are also featuring conversion kits for older units to convert them to R410a refrigerant. While this is a legitimate and safe option for homeowners, it really is not worth the expense. This is especially true if the unit is ten years or older. Why would you spend almost half the cost of a new unit to have one that is not as efficient and was not designed to house R410a refrigerant in the first place? Would you convert your gasoline vehicle to a hybrid? Or would you just invest in a hybrid?
Investing in R410a air conditioning is an environmentally friendly cooling solution that will give you peace of mind and provide you with years of energy efficient, comfortable, cooling.