LAS VEGAS – Starting January 1, 2020, Freon (R-22), an ozone-depleting substance that is used to help cool homes, will no longer be allowed in the United States after the remaining supply is gone. This ban, which eliminates the production and import of Freon, ultimately affects any household that has an air conditioning unit that uses the R-22 form of the refrigerant.
In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency began phasing out R22 Freon use in all new air conditioning systems. This ban will have a widespread impact on air conditioning units over 10 years old as the lifespan of a central air conditioner is 15-20 years according to U.S. Department of Energy.
Homeowners who have units that use R22 Freon may face hefty repair bills as the price for the remaining supply of Freon increases.
“Because of this ban, R22 Freon now costs homeowners about 10 times more than it did five years ago,” said Ken Goodrich, CEO of Goettl. “Systems in the desert start to have expensive repairs needed after 11 years, with the phase out of R22 Freon that cost will increase. The benefits of a new system outweigh the investment in repairing one that is more than 11 years old.”
Homeowners who decide not to replace their older units have the option to use drop-in Freon alternatives. However, these alternatives are 30 percent less efficient than Freon and come at a higher cost.
“These drop-ins aren’t going to have the same capacity. The air tends to be about three degrees warmer which negatively affects overall energy usage,” Goodrich said.
Here are maintenance tips that homeowners should keep in mind when preparing for the 2020 ban:
• If you have R-22 refrigerant in your system and levels are low, you must either refill with R-22 or, if you decide to use an alternative, the R-22 must be removed and completely recaptured. The system must be converted to use a different coolant and refilled completely with the alternative. It cannot simply be topped off with a cheaper alternative refrigerant.
• When selecting a contractor, make sure they have the EPA’s Section 608 certification, which is needed to service equipment containing R-22.
• If you have a unit where one part is outside and the other in the attic (as is the case in most single-family residences in Las Vegas), make sure the technician also services the unit in the attic. Just tending to the condenser outside of the home is not enough, as most leaks happen in the attic.
• Conducting general maintenance will help extend the life of the unit, such as regularly changing air filters, checking the thermostat battery annually and keeping the outside air conditioning coil free of weeds and bushes.
For more information visit www.goettl.com.
About Goettl Air Conditioning and Plumbing
Goettl Air Conditioning & Plumbing is a leading provider of modernization solutions and services that deliver comfort, indoor air & water quality, and intelligent efficiency for residential customers. The company creates value by acquiring established local brands, applying experienced management talent and implementing proven processes. Initially focused on companies in the Southwest, Goettl is expanding nationally. Current operations are located in Arizona, Nevada, and California. Goettl is the winner of Inc. 5000 fastest growing companies in 2017 & 2018. www.goettl.com