A process that began 10 years ago has reached its realization. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency began an effort to conserve the ozone layer by eliminating the use of Freon, otherwise known as Refrigerant-22. As a result, air conditioning units manufactured and installed after 2010 have been designed to use environmentally friendly alternatives such as Puron. Additionally, as of January 1st, 2020, Refrigerant-22 and HCFC-22 coolants can no longer be manufactured or imported into the United States. This raises the question: Where does this leave homeowners with an air conditioner unit preceding the 2010 deadline?
- Don’t Rush for a Replacement
An immediate replacement of your ac system may not be necessary. Air conditioners are designed with a closed-looped system. This means that with the exception of a leak, the freon in your ac system should last as long as your unit does.
- Schedule an Inspection
Consistent maintenance and tune-ups are the best strategies for extending the lifespan of your air conditioner unit, especially if its older than 8 years. This is often the time malfunctions begin to occur. Preventing expensive break downs is generally more cost-effective than paying for repairs. In light of the increasing price of freon, paying attention to the state of your unit now can also help you establish a winning strategy before the summer heat arrives.
- Remember Energy Efficiency
New air conditioner units help save you money over time by diminishing excess energy use in your home. Smart thermostats are also revolutionizing the market by allowing homeowners to streamline their energy consumption in every room throughout the season. While it may be a few years before your home requires an updated system, consider it a long-term investment in your home and energy bill savings.
- Consider the Positives
Numerous studies have been conducted to explore and implement an ozone-friendly alternative to Refrigerant-22. Unlike its predecessor, Puron releases zero harmful chemicals into the environment. It has been used safely in households since 1996 and established as an affordable alternative to freon. Furthermore, it operates in high-pressure units, making it a faster, more energy-efficient refrigerant. While the ozone is benefitting, so can your monthly energy costs.
- Educate Yourself
Apart from maintaining or replacing your current unit, keep in mind that older units can often be retrofitted to use Puron. In some cases, this may be the most economical, long term solution for your household. Speak to an HVAC technician about all of the options and overall costs both now and down the road. If you decide to replace an older unit with a new one, research which units are the optimum choice for your home size, duct system, and price range.
As a Texas homeowner, air conditioning is a necessity during the summer months, when the average temperature ranges between 85-101 degrees Fahrenheit. As Refrigerant-22 phases out, it is a great idea to explore all of your options and alternatives, guaranteeing you and your family enjoy a sweat-free experience during the hottest time of the year.