AC refrigerants are crucial in the air conditioning systems’ cooling process. These components absorb and release heat, which cools the air inside a business or home. The type can also significantly impact its performance, energy efficiency, and environmental impact.
However, a U.S. law (Sections 601-607 of the Clean Air Act) prohibited the production and use of Freon refrigerant in air conditioners and HVAC units, with a deadline of January 1, 2020, to eradicate its use. If you’re a Birmingham homeowner that uses a system that relies on Freon, you must know what this ban means and how to comply with the new regulations. It’s one of the essential responsibilities besides scheduling regular professional air conditioner repairs.
This article will explain why government officials created this new mandate and how it affects homeowners. We’ll also teach you what to do with your old cooling units.
R-22 vs. R-410A: What’s the Difference?
R-22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon that breaks the ozone layer. On the other hand, R410-A is a gas that doesn’t harm the ozone layer because it’s a hydro-fluorocarbon.
Why Did Officials Implement the Air Conditioner Refrigerant 2020 Regulations?
Home air conditioners have commonly used R-22 as the primary AC refrigerant chemical for many years. However, studies discovered that hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), used in air conditioners and refrigerators to cool, negatively impact the ozone layer and the climate. Thus, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered manufacturers to gradually phase out the R-22 production by January 1, 2020.
What Do These Rules Mean for Birmingham Homeowners?
Birmingham homeowners can feel relieved because newer air conditioning systems manufactured after 2010 no longer depend on the harmful R-22 refrigerant. Most new units now use R-410A, or Puron, an environmentally-friendly and ozone-friendly HCFC refrigerant. If your HVAC technician installed a new air conditioner in the last ten years, it’s likely compliant with these regulations.
However, you should still check the type of AC refrigerant used in your air conditioner by referring to the condenser’s nameplate or user manual or consulting an HVAC technician. After all, it’s always better to be cautious. You must also schedule a tune-up for your air conditioner to ensure refrigerant compliance and use maintenance and repair services.
2 Things to Do with Your Pre-2010 AC Unit That Uses R-22
After explaining the significance of the new rules and what they mean for Birmingham homeowners, this section will enumerate two things to do with your outdated cooling unit.
1. Retrofit Your Current AC System
The mandate doesn’t require you to buy a new air conditioner, but you can’t remove the R-22 AC refrigerant and replace it with an eco-friendly one. That’s because various refrigerants require different parts to function correctly, and changing the refrigerant without modifying your system can cause malfunctions.
If your AC unit is compatible with R-410A refrigerant, you can replace the condenser without changing anything else and still meet the environmental requirements. Although this option is costly, it will let you continue using your current system.
2. Replace Your Older AC Unit
Upgrading old air conditioners can be as expensive or costlier than installing a new unit. For this reason, many homeowners want to replace their air conditioning units with the latest system that uses permitted coolants like R-410A.
You should also remember that HVAC systems typically last around 15 years, so investing in a new one can lead to significant savings in the long run because of increased efficiency. Moreover, replacing the system means avoiding the cost of changing R-22 and paying higher energy bills.
The Bottom Line
Government officials have banned manufacturers from creating R-22 because of its harmful environmental effects. You can comply with the law, enjoy a more energy-efficient home, and help protect the earth by educating yourself about the regulations, retrofitting your current system, and finding a unit with R-410A.
If your home needs professional air conditioner repair in Birmingham, AL, contact AutumnAir! Our family-owned company is committed to helping properties become more energy-efficient with our high-quality services. Get a free estimate now!