The summer season is rapidly approaching and proactive homeowners are scheduling their preseason AC maintenance services. Included in this service is a check of the refrigerant level. In older systems, the most common refrigerant used is R22. Homeowners may be in for a little surprise this year. The prices of R22 have started to rise dramatically.
The reason is not obvious but it is rather typical, government regulation. Over the last decade, a governmental mandate known as the Montreal Protocol has aimed to help the depletion of the ozone layer by regulating the production and use of the air conditioning refrigerant R22. This mandate has led to a complete stop in the production of R22. However, HVAC and air conditioning companies can still reclaim and recycle existing stocks.
Reputable HVAC company will always send an EPA certified technician to deal with an R22 air conditioning system. When this technician visits your property, he brings a set of specialized tools and containers. Being careful not to vent any of the compound into the atmosphere. He replaces the old ac freon with the new kind and sends the old off for recycling.
This process allows for much of the R22 to be captured but the recycling process invariably loses some. It is currently estimated that there will be enough of the compound to service R22 units for another ten years. With these facts in mind, be ready to pay a little more. As the years go by for R22 you have to also add the higher price onto any considerations about purchasing a new cooling system.
The newer systems that use 410A refrigerant have efficiencies that are equal to or better than the current generation of R22 models. A timely investment in these newer, high efficiency models will pay dividends in energy, money and in a better environment.