The most important point to understand is that the production and importation, and not the use of R-22 is being phased out. There is no requirement for you to stop using your R-22 refrigerant air conditioner.
The production of air conditioners using R-22 ended in 2010. By 2020, no more R-22 refrigerant will be produced or imported. By then, the cost of this refrigerant will have increased dramatically, and you would have to rely on purchasing recycled R-22.
A report in ACHR News outlines the impact of the R-22 phase-out for homeowners. You will eventually need to replace your R-22 charged air conditioning equipment with a newer model that uses an environmentally friendly refrigerant. The dilemma is: do you replace now or later?
Alternatives for Homeowners with an R-22 System
Depending on your budget constraints and the age of your current system, there are a few alternatives you can consider:
- Conduct diligent maintenance on your current R-22 system. Implementing a program of regular home AC maintenance by a professional HVAC service company will lower the risk of your system developing a refrigerant leak. It will also buy you time to institute a savings plan to raise the finances needed to replace the system at its retirement age.
- Replace refrigerant and critical components. This will not cost as much as a completely new system. The R-22 can be replaced by another refrigerant, but then certain components, like the condenser and cooling coils, will need to be replaced as well to accommodate the new operating pressures.
- Complete system replacement. This is the most costly option. The major advantage of a completely new system is that you will derive the benefits of the latest air conditioning technology.
Regardless of how well an HVAC system has been maintained, its efficiency will deteriorate as it gets older through normal wear and tear. New air conditioners sold in Nevada must have a SEER rating of 14 minimum. This is substantially more efficient than the R-22 system you currently own.
Higher system efficiency means a saving on utility bills. No-one can predict with any accuracy what the price of electricity is going to be in 5, 10 or 20 years’ time. With the ever-increasing cost of electricity, you may decide to take advantage of this saving now and replace your R-22 system with a newer model.
Servicing Air Conditioners Using R-22
As R-22 becomes scarcer, the cost of servicing your system is likely to increase. In order to see out its lifetime, it is vital that it is maintained by a qualified air conditioning technician to maximize its efficiency and prolong its lifespan.
Another important aspect to consider is the availability of air conditioner service technicians who are qualified on R-22 equipment. New technicians coming into the market will only train on models using newer technology. Although it shouldn’t be a major problem at this point in time, you should establish a service relationship with an HVAC company that can guarantee a qualified technician to service your system.
If you’re looking to retain your R-22 system, now is the time to sign a service contract with a professional and reputable HVAC company that can maintain your equipment for the rest of its lifetime.