EPA Changes May Affect Your HVAC System

Rising Costs of R-22 Driving AC Maintenance Costs Through the Roof

If you own a home or commercial building constructed before 2010, you should be aware of the EPA phase out for R-22, or HCFC-22. It has been the refrigerant of choice for air conditioning systems for more than four decades and due to EPA regulations, supply is limited and costs are rising.

R-22 is considered a greenhouse gas and in 2004, the EPA began enforcing restrictions on consumption in an effort to minimize environmental impacts and move people to more energy efficient alternatives.  Currently, the use of R-22 in new AC systems is banned and production and import of R-22 has been cut sharply. Consequently, higher demand has driven the price up 400% over the past five years.

To illustrate the impact of availability over recent years, consider this:
By 2015, there were will only be about 10 million points left, making it obsolete.


What does this mean for homeowners? RISING COSTS for maintenance and repair of older AC units!
Despite being a known cause of ozone depletion, R-22 is still used in many air conditioning systems. In 2010, the approximate cost of charging the AC system of a 2000 square foot home was $100. This year, that price will be around $500.00 and it expected to rise to $800.00 by 2014.

The rising cost is making it increasingly expensive to maintain and repair older units. Many consumers are finding it cheaper to replace with newer HVAC systems that use the new style refrigerant. If you have an older system, we recommend that customers check for any damage or leaks and address as soon as possible.

Refrigerant Leaks & R22: What You Need to Know
Sometimes, refrigerant leaks can form in HVAC systems. It is important to fix these leaks for the following reasons:

(1) Refrigerant leaks result in a loss of cooling capacity and efficiency, which means inadequate cooling and high operating costs.

(2) Ecologically, refrigerant leaks allow dangerous chlorine to be emitted into the atmosphere, adding to the ozone depletion problem. This is especially true for systems using R-22.

(3) If an air conditioning system is leaking refrigerant, it is also leaking oil (due to the fact that the lubricating oil is in the refrigerant). Just as driving an automobile with insufficient oil in the engine can cause the engine to fail prematurely, loss of oil in an air conditioning system can result in a premature failure of the compressor.

Think your older system is leaking refrigerant?

We can help! A Bardi technician can inspect your system and check refrigerant levels. The technician will give you options to locate and repair any refrigerant leaks. If the air conditioner uses R-22, it can be refilled with a cheaper and ecologically safer refrigerant. This is normally a good solution when the air conditioner is less than 10 years old.

If your AC system is older than 10 years, you may want to consider replacing your system altogether with an energy-saving unit that has warranties lasting 10+ years. An ‘EnergyStar’ certified system can save you up to 40% on your utility bills. A Comfort Consultant will visit your home and discuss the best replacement options for your home.

About the Author:

Bardi Heating, Cooling and Plumbing, rated A+ by the Better Business Bureau and Best Business by Gwinnett Chamber of Commerce, has been a trusted heating and cooling company providing superior AC, Heating and Plumbing care in Atlanta for nearly 25 years. We will ‘always, always, always do the right thing.’

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