Air conditioners depend on a substance known as refrigerant to carry heat that’s extracted from inside your home to the outside where it’s removed. For many years, the refrigerant of choice was a chemical substance known as R-22. However, you probably know it by its common name Freon. Freon was by far the most common refrigerant in use in air conditioners all across the country for decades, however not long after widespread use began researchers discovered just how harmful it can be to the environment.
After multiple studies successfully demonstrated that Freon was harmful to the ozone layer surrounding our planet, the EPA began the long process of slowly phasing out its use in order to promote a healthier ecosystem. The initial ban began all the way back in 2010, when the EPA outright banned the import of air conditioning systems that were pre-charged with R-22 Freon, plus reduced domestic production by 75 percent. By 2015, that number bumped up to 90 percent.
Now, starting January 1st, 2020, that Freon ban will reach its final phase. On that date, all domestic production of Freon will cease, all international import of Freon will halt, and all new air conditioning systems will no longer be allowed to be installed using R-22 Freon refrigerant. Over time, R-22 Freon will completely disappear as a refrigerant entirely.
What That Means for Your Air Conditioning System
What does this ban mean for your air conditioning system? To put it simple, if your air conditioner runs on Freon refrigerant, you’re going to experience some changes. Let’s make one thing clear right from the start: you are not legally required to purchase a new air conditioner if your current system runs on Freon. You will be allowed to continue to use your air conditioner for as long as you’d like. However, the cost of services for your system will rise dramatically.
Even today, Freon generally runs anywhere between $80 and $115 or more per pound, which can make the cost of even a simple recharge service extraordinarily expensive. With all Freon production cut off, the supply will diminish quickly, and supply and demand dictates that the cost will only surge even higher from there.
What You Can Do to Avoid Higher Costs
So what can you do to avoid the surging costs of owning and operating a Freon-based air conditioning system? The easiest answer: replace it with a system that relies on a more efficient and non-harmful refrigerant as most modern systems do. Most Freon-based air conditioners are starting to approach the end of their useful lifespan, which means you likely could start seeing your system deteriorate and break down more frequently, which means you’ll be facing the prospect of repairs sooner than you may have initially thought. Why not get out ahead of the curve and avoid the hassle of a broken Freon-based system by simply replacing it with an approved, energy-efficient system ahead of time?
While replacing your air conditioner may seem like a big investment to have to make, particularly when your current air conditioner is still working, the truth is a new system could save you money in ways you may not have realized. Modern systems in California and other southern US markets are required to be a minimum of 14 SEER in energy efficiency, which is a tremendous leap over the average system from just a decade ago which was usually around 8 to 10 SEER. As these older systems age, they’ve become even less efficient, which means you’ll see a huge savings on your energy bills right from the very first month it’s in use. That savings can help this system in turn pay for itself over time.
Likewise, a new system is also going to be even more effective at cooling your home. One of the common myths about “green” home technology is that it simply doesn’t work as well as the tech we had before, and that people are sacrificing their own comfort for the sake of the planet. When it comes to air conditioning, this flat out isn’t true. Many modern refrigerants are actually better at absorbing and transferring heat than Freon ever was, which means your air conditioner will be more effective at lowering the temperature in your home, meaning shorter cycle times and longer-lasting comfort.
Do you need your air conditioner replaced? Interested in getting out in front of the Freon ban and getting rid of your old air conditioner? Talk to the experts at Monarch Home Services by calling (661) 271-6099 today.