Supplies of R-22 continue to fall in response to the phase-out of this hazardous A/C refrigerant. Unfortunately, the majority of cooling systems in the U.S. use R-22, also known by the brand name Freon, since it was the industry standard refrigerant in A/Cs and heat pumps until 2010. The ongoing phaseout has resulted in prices rising dramatically, and they will continue to do so until 2020 when no more new supplies of R-22 will be available.
Two options exist for New Jersey homeowners whose cooling systems use this refrigerant. The first is to keep their systems well maintained so that leaks in the refrigerant coils and lines don’t occur in the first place; the second is to replace old systems that have diminishing efficiency with new systems that use R-410A, the more environmentally benign refrigerant that has become the industry standard.
Keeping dirt off the evaporator coil and the condenser coil is the best way to avoid leaks from occurring in the first place. A clean air filter for the blower stops dust from drifting inside the blower and covering the evaporator coil. The outdoor condenser contains the coil through which the hot refrigerant flows to cool before re-entering the compressor. Hosing it off a few times each cooling season helps clear the dirt away, as does avoiding blowing grass clippings on it when mowing the lawn. Seasonal maintenance performed by a trusted HVAC contractor also helps because they have tools to deep clean the coils.
As stated, most new systems use R-410A as the refrigerant. If your A/C is more than 10 years old and you’ve been spending money to repair it or it needs more refrigerant, it probably makes sense to replace it. If you replace your system with a high-efficiency unit in 2013 (or did so in 2012), you may be able to take advantage of federal tax credits to help defray the cost of the new system. Today’s air conditioners have much higher efficiency than older equipment, and between the tax credits and reduced cooling costs, the payback is relatively short.
If you’re running a cooling system that has R-22 and would like more information about preventive maintenance or replacement, please contact us at Pipe Works Services We’ve provided outstanding HVAC services for northern New Jersey since 2000.