Were you aware that recharging an AC system that uses R-22 refrigerant can be very costly? It’s actually a more efficient and affordable choice to replace the entire air conditioner than to continue paying for old refrigerant. It’s actually been about 10+ years since the last R-22 systems were even installed!
You might be wondering, why does this matter? Well because if you’re still operating an air conditioner that uses this old refrigerant, you’re probably paying more than you should have to for your comfort, and you’re going to have a hard time when it needs repairs. Read on to learn more!
“Doesn’t My AC System Need Refrigerant?”
Yes! Absolutely. Your air conditioner simply cannot do its job without this important fluid/gas component. What homeowners often don’t realize though, is that R-22 is a type of refrigerant, and one that is not great for the environment, hence why it’s been almost entirely phased out.
While you still can get your air conditioner recharged (what those of us in the HVAC industry called “refilled”) with the older R-22 refrigerant, it’s very hard to find. You see, R-22 isn’t being produced anymore, nor is it being imported to the states. There are companies that will still provide “drop-in” solutions, which means replacing current R-22 systems with a refrigerant called HFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbon).
This has significant drawbacks, however. The main issue is that when you introduce a new refrigerant that your older air conditioner wasn’t designed for, you lose efficiency—12-15% of your system’s efficiency to be exact.
This is awful for your unit’s functionality since your air conditioner will essentially have to work hard to do its job, wearing down on the system components and causing your cooling bills to right. If you already have an aging system, the problem is exacerbated even more.
It’s Time to Upgrade!
If you want to fully enjoy the benefits of an efficient cooling system, the best thing you can do if you do still have a system using R-22, is replace it. AC systems today not only have the safer and more eco-friendly refrigerant in them, but they’re also designed with a much higher SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Ratio) rating than systems in the past, so even with the refrigerant issue aside you’ll benefit from increased efficiency and lower monthly utility bills.
It’s also worth noting that any time you’re about to replace an air conditioner, you have the opportunity to consider your options. There are many refrigerant-based systems on the market that can work even more efficiently in your home. The heat pump system, for example, is a 2-in-1 cooling and heating system. The refrigerant switches the heat transfer process so that you can get warm air in your home in the winter just as easily as you get warm air out of your home in the summer. This is a great option if you’re also facing a heating system replacement soon!