The refrigerants in today’s HVAC units have become more environmentally friendly. R-22, the refrigerant that’s been used in homes for decades, has been ruled environmentally damaging by the Environmental Protection Agency.
Now, any new unit purchased after 2010 comes pre-charged with R-410A, the approved replacement for R-22 refrigerant. Since most HVAC units are built to last up to a decade, homeowners need to be aware of when it’s time to upgrade their system.
The Facts on Refrigerants
- R-22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) that was removed from the market after studies showed that the chlorine formula was damaging to the ozone layer. While R-410A, a non-HCFC, has proven to be more environmentally friendly, it isn’t a perfect solution. It is considered to contribute to the “greenhouse effect” because it is a source of carbon dioxide in the air.
- All new models of air conditioners are designed to utilize R-410A. This replacement refrigerant extracts heat energy more efficiently than R-22, putting less wear and tear on the compressor (the most expensive part to replace). R-410A promotes the longevity of your unit, saving on both your electricity expenditure and the cost of repair.
- R-22 works at a lower pressure than R-410A. Old units that utilized R-22 couldn’t withstand the increased refrigerant pressure and wore out more quickly. New units are more durable under the pressure with R-410A, and they last longer.
- Once your R-22-using unit dies, you have to replace it. There is no way to retrofit the unit to use R-410A.
- As supplies of R-22 dwindle, it is vulnerable to shortages and sharp spikes in cost. R-22’s lifespan is short, and by 2020, there will be no newer R-22 available for purchase. This means that acquiring it for an old unit is going to become increasingly more costly and difficult.
Whether your unit isn’t working quite right or you’re looking for ways to maximize household efficiency, it may be time to let go of your old unit made for R-22. By using R-410A, you’re improving air quality – and your electricity bill.
For more tips and advice on making your home cooling system more efficient, contact the On Time Experts online or call one of our locations: 469-336-3435.