Air conditioners use a liquid and gaseous chemical called refrigerant to cool your home. The refrigerant absorbs heat from inside your home and releases it outside, which is how your home stays cool on warm days.
If you have an old air conditioner that uses a now-obsolete refrigerant called R-22, you may wonder if you need to upgrade to a newer model that uses R-410A, a more efficient kind of refrigerant.
Our answer to this dilemma? We recommend that you start thinking about replacing your old AC for the following reasons:
Let’s explore each of these reasons in more detail below.
ACs That Use R-22 Are Expensive to Repair
Back in the 1950s, when R-22 was first introduced, it quickly became the standard refrigerant used in HVAC systems. Decades later, scientists discovered that chemicals like hydrochlorofluorocarbons in R-22 refrigerant were depleting the ozone layer. As a result, by the late 1980s, governments worldwide announced plans to phase out the use of R-22.
Fast forward to January 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency prohibited the production and importation of R-22. Only recovered, recycled, or reclaimed supplies of R-22 could be available to purchase. Since supplies are now limited, the cost of R-22 refrigerant has increased considerably.
In fact, the cost per pound of R-22 refrigerant is double or triple the price of R-410A, which is the type of refrigerant modern air conditioners use. Unfortunately, you can’t put R-410A in an old R-22 system due to equipment incompatibility. So, if you need to add refrigerant to your old system because of a leak (which is more than likely to occur because of its old age), you’ll have to pay a lot more for the repair.
Plus, if your AC uses R-22 refrigerant, your equipment is probably over 10 years old. The last air conditioners built to handle R-22 were manufactured before 2010. Most air conditioners last 10 to 15 years, so if yours has passed its 10th birthday, it’s time to start thinking about a new system.
Instead of pouring money into an outdated system that may need expensive repairs soon, we recommend putting that money towards a new air conditioner that will last for at least another decade.
R-410A Refrigerant Is More Energy Efficient
Compared to R-22, R-410A refrigerant is much more energy efficient. It absorbs and releases heat without needing to consume as much energy. As a result of this increased efficiency, you’ll likely lower your energy bills if you upgrade to an R-410A AC system.
Besides lower energy costs, R-410A systems can also cool your home slightly faster than R-22 systems because of their higher efficiency. They're less likely to experience compressor burnout, a costly AC repair since it's a vital AC component, compared to R-22 air conditioners. Ultimately, investing in an R-410A system will save you money in the long run with lower monthly energy bills and fewer expensive repairs.
R-410A Doesn’t Hurt the Ozone Layer
The ozone layer is the thin part of our planet’s atmosphere that absorbs harmful ultraviolet light from the sun. R-22 refrigerant depletes the ozone layer when it leaks into the atmosphere, hence why it was phased out of active production. On the other hand, R-410A refrigerant does not deplete the ozone layer.
However, that’s not to say that R-410A is totally harmless for the environment. It has a high Global Warming Potential (GWP), meaning it will directly contribute to climate change if leaked into the air. For this reason, R-410A refrigerant will likely also be phased out for a more environmentally-friendly refrigerant with a lower GWP in the future. As you plan for your new air conditioner down the line, ask your HVAC contractor about low GWP refrigerant options.
Ready to Replace Your Old R-22 Air Conditioner? Contact Advantage Air Mechanical Today
Our team of highly trained AC experts will provide you with an upfront quote on the cost of installing a new air conditioner. We’ll help you find the perfect system for your home based on your cooling needs, budget, and long-term savings goals. We don’t pay our technicians on commission, so you can rest assured you’re getting the best system for your home.