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This article is about freon air conditioners.   Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C, in Plano, Texas provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C is near your home in Plano, Allen, and Frisco, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charge.

Al’s also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

Freon A/C Won’t Be Able To Be Recharged Soon

(Freon Production Ends Starting In 2020) 

central air conditioner outside unit

Image Source: DreamsTime

Freon / R-22 Refrigerant Will Soon Be Gone

Older freon a/c (that use Freon / R-22 refrigerant) will soon be a thing of the past.  R22 / Freon has high levels of chlorine that depletes the earth’s ozone layer.  For this reason, new refrigerant standards were implemented as part of the EPA-Clean Air Act.

On Jan 1, 2020 — R22 / Freon can no longer be manufactured or imported to the U.S.  Government regulations required the replacement of R-22 Freon with R410a Refrigerant, which is far less damaging to the environment.

** The EPA’s Schedule To Phase Out Freon / R-22:

  • January 1, 2010 Ban on production, import & use of R-22 / Freon, except for continuing servicing needs of existing equipment.
  • January 1, 2020 Total Ban on production & import of HCFC-22.
  • After 2020, servicing R-22 systems will rely solely on recycled or stockpiled quantities of R-22 / Freon Refrigerant.

** Source: https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-07/documents/phasing_out_hcfc_refrigerants_to_protect_the_ozone_layer.pdf

Reclamation & Recycling Of R-22 Will Make Existing R-22 Available, But With No New Production, Freon Will Become Far More Expensive.

  • In 2015, Freon = $10.00 per pound. **
  • In 2019, Freon = $14.15 per pound.   A 41% increase in 4 years.
  • A 3 ton / 36,000 BTU Central A/C needs 12 pounds of refrigerant if it’s completely discharged (due to a leak).
  • $170.00 — Freon refrigerant cost (not including labor) at the time this article was written.
  • In 2018 R-410A / Puron costs $220.00   $8.75 per pound
  • A 3 ton / 36,000 BTU Central A/C needs 12 pounds of refrigerant if it’s completely discharged (due to a leak).
  • $105.00 — R410A refrigerant cost (not including labor) at the time this article was written.

** Source:  https://refrigeranthq.com/how-much-is-r-22-freon-per-pound-in-2015/

 

Freon A/C Can’t Be Charged With R410A

Freon air conditioners will become increasingly expensive to recharge.  At some point, Freon will no longer be available, though it’s possible that most Freon based a/c will have worn out and been replaced by that time.

R410A (also known by it brand name Puron) is the industry’s choice to replace R-22 / Freon.  It is less damaging to the environment and with same cooling ability of R-22. R410A is not interchangeable with R-22.  An  air conditioner was designed to run with R22/Freon OR R410A/Puron.

 

How To Know If Your A/C Uses R22 / Freon or R410A / Puron

Most air conditioners have a nameplate on the outside unit that identifies the type of refrigerant it uses.  If not listed on the nameplate, an HVAC Service Tech can also advise which refrigerant your system has.  After 2010, new A/C units were required to use R410A.

Click  To See Central A/C Outside Unit Labels Identifying Which Refrigerant The System Uses:  R-22 OR R-410A Refrigerant Shown On A/C Label

 

Deciding To Recharge, Repair, or Replace Your Freon A/C Conditioner

  • If your Freon A/C is working well (and does not need a refrigerant recharge or repairs) you can continue to use it.
  • If your Freon A/C needs recharged, ask the cost to recharge it before deciding.   At today’s prices for Freon refrigerant, the cost of an R-22 recharge may not be wise in light of the unit’s age.  Also, the refrigerant is low, there also a refrigerant leak that must be repaired.
  • The lifespan of a properly maintained freon a/c in DFW is up to 12-15 years.  Consider its age before sinking money into it for a Freon recharge.
  • The Improved Efficiency Of A New A/C  may return much of the replacement cost, depending on the age of the exiting system.  In DFW today, the minimum SEER (Seasonal Energy Efficiency Rating) for new a/c installations is SEER 14.

SEER Rating Of Central A/C By Age:

When Made        SEER

  • New A/C                 14
  • Before 1980            6 or less
  • 1980-1985               7 or less
  • 1986-1991                8 or less
  • 1992-2005             10-12
  • 2006 to present    13 or higher

Should You Replace A Component, Repair A Leak & Recharge

Or Replace Your Existing Freon Air Conditioner?

Click Here For More Details On Common Air Conditioner Breakdowns:  Common A/C Breakdowns

  • The Age, SEER and Repair Charges for your existing Freon A/C are the major factors in the decision to recharge or replace the unit. 
  • If an A/C is low on charge, it’s due to a leak.  Refrigerant does not wear out nor diminish in volume.  If your A/C is low on charge, you must also incur the cost to find & repair the leak.   Depending on the location of the leak, this repair may be expensive.
  • If the leak is in a refrigerant line, the cost to repair the leak may be justified.
  • If the leak is in the Evaporator Coil, and if the coil must be replaced (versus repaired), the cost of repair and recharge may not be justified (based on age of unit).

Click Here To See An Evaporator Coil : Central A/C Evaporator Coil

Note: This coil is inside the furnace or ductwork and is not readily visible.

  • If a component has failed, ask the cost to replace it.  For instance, if a capacitor replacement (a common problem) is required, it’s not a huge cost to replace.
  • If the compressor (in outdoor unit) has failed — it’s time to replace the system.  A compressor replacement is not justified in a Freon refrigerant A/C.

If You Repair An Older Freon Air Conditioner, How Long Will It Last?

There is no way to know.  If the system has been reliable, and needs a modest cost repair, it may make sense.  If you have had several breakdowns over the past few years, it’s because the system is wearing out.  Replacing one part will buy some time, but how long is anyone’s guess.

The Lifespan Of Your A/C Is Directly Related To Maintenance & How Much You Use It

A neglected cooling system can up to double your cooling costs and cause the System’s lifespan to be cut in half.

dirty air filter on left. New air filter on right.

Image Source: CanStockPhoto

A Clogged Furnace Air Filter Can Increase Cooling Costs & System Operating Time By Up To 15%.

 

  • The #1 HVAC System Maintenance Item is checking the furnace air filter monthly, and replacing it when needed. 
  • A dirty furnace filter can increase cooling costs by up to 15%. 
  • It stands to reason that a dirty filter can cause the a/c to run up to 15% longer for the same amount of cooling.

Image Source: DreamsTime

A Dirty / Clogged Condenser Unit Can Increase Cooling Costs & Operating Time By Up To 40%.

 

  • The #2 Central A/C maintenance item is keeping the Condenser Unit clean.
  • A clogged condenser unit can increase cooling costs & operating time by up to 40%.
  • The Condenser Unit (outdoor unit) moves a tremendous amount of air while running.  Over time, the coils gather dirt & debris, and will continue clog if not cleaned.

Click Here To See A Clogged A/C Condenser Unit (outside unit) Before & After Cleaning: Before & After Cleaning Central A/C Condenser Unit

 

Other Factors That Affect HVAC System Lifespan (and operating costs)

How Much You Use Yyour A/C:

Each degree below 78°F increases the amount of time the system must run by by 3-4%.    If you keep your home at 70 degrees, your a/c runs up to 1/3 more than at 78 degrees!

photo of blown insulation in an attic

Image Source: ShutterStock

 

Lack Of Insulation Dramatically Increases Run-Time:

The minimum depth of attic insulation for DFW is 14 inches, which equates to an R-Value of R-38. *

The maximum depth of attic insulation for DFW is nearly 20 inches, for a R-60. *

* SOURCE: U.S. Department of Energy.

NOTE: The energy savings from R-60 insulation value is not twice that of R-30 as the effectiveness of each additional inch of insulation drops a little.

 

Add a Foil Radiant Heat-Barrier.  

A foil radiant heat-barrier (stapled to the lumber on the underneath side of the roof) blocks up to 97% of the sun’s heat from entering deeply into the attic.  The barrier is open at the top & bottom, so air can rise upward remove heat through the attic’s ventilation system.

Click Here To See A Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier Being Installed In An Attic: Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier Being Installed

Click Here To See The Effectivness Of A Foil Radiant-Heat Barrier:  Radiant-Heat Barrier Reduces Heat Gain By 60 Degrees.

 

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This article is about Energy Star Products For Homes.  Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C, in Plano, Texas provides full service plumbing maintenance, repairs and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs Rheem Professional Series gas & electric water heaters, and tankless water heaters.  Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C is near your home in Murphy, Rowlette, and Wylie, Texas.  We service all homes in southern Collin and Denton Counties with no additional travel charge.

Al’s also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar (same company as American Standard) and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.  We will arrange an appointment at your convenience and offer 24/7 Emergency Service.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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