air-conditioner-serviceIf you have an older air conditioner, it may still use an outdated form of refrigerant known as R22. R22 is no longer manufactured due to the problems it causes the ozone layer, but older air conditioners may still be making use of it. That can prove to be a problem, since recharging the refrigerant will cost more and more. If your system uses R22, it might be a good time to think about a replacement A/C. Installing a new system now can avoid any problems with continuing to use your old system over the summer.

Why Is It a Problem?

Most people know that air conditioners use refrigerant to cool the air. It cycles through a series of valves and coils that first shift it from gaseous to liquid form while placing it under a great deal of pressure, then back to gaseous form in the evaporator coils (which has the effect of pulling heat from the nearby air). What most people don’t understand is that each make and model of air conditioner uses a specific type of refrigerant in specific amounts. Using other types of refrigerant simply won’t work.

The federal government began phasing out R22 several years ago because it was hazardous to the environment. Today, air conditioners are no longer built using R22, and the refrigerant itself will cease production entirely in 2020.

That’s good news for the environment, although if your air conditioner uses it, it can prove to be quite a pickle. R22 is growing increasingly expensive, which means it will cost you more and more to use it as time goes on. While your air conditioner doesn’t consume refrigerant—it circulates through an endless loop and is theoretically infinitely renewable—you can lose refrigerant as leaks develop or other problems with your system crop up. Recharging refrigerant is a common air conditioning repair job, and in most cases it doesn’t cost much. But as R22 grows scarcer, those costs will go up, until paying for a new system may simply make more sense than continuing to limp along with the old one. In some cases, you may not even be able to get R22, which leaves your air conditioner’s ability to function at the mercy of the secondary market.

Why Now?

If you have an older air conditioner running on R22, you’ve likely done an excellent job of maintaining it, which means you’ve gotten strong value for your money. It also means that the system is likely past its warranty, which means that repairs are going to become more frequent: especially things like refrigerant leaks, which are going to cost you more than you should have to pay just to keep it running.

Only you can make the final decision as to whether to replace your air conditioner or not. But if you’re weighing your options and your system still uses R22, that may be the final factor in deciding to pull the trigger on a new one.

Here in Cincinnati, OH, quality air conditioning replacement services can be performed by the pros at Jacob Bros. Heating & Air Conditioning.

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