Each spring, many homeowners gear up for the warm weather with an air conditioner or heat pump tune-up. Oftentimes this involves recharging the unit with refrigerant to keep air cool and your home comfortable. However, this process may become costlier for units installed before 2009. These older units use a refrigerant called freon or R-22, and this refrigerant will soon be phased out. Here are some facts to help you prepare for spring and plan for the future of your HVAC system.

Why is freon being phased out?

Scientists have discovered that freon causes damage to the Earth’s ozone layer, and in an effort to become more environmentally friendly, the U.S. has implemented a phase out with the hopes of eventually banning the substance. Freon is expected to be fully phased out by 2030, with increasing restrictions placed on the use of R-22 in the meantime.

What does this mean for homeowners?

During the phase out process, the price of freon will increase dramatically. If your AC unit was manufactured before 2010, this will affect the cost of recharging and maintenance. Over the next few years, regulations on units using freon will continue to increase, potentially requiring homeowners to pay high prices or install leak-detecting devices to reduce damage to the ozone layer.

Additionally, any HVAC technician who services your system must have EPA Section 608 certification. To protect the environment, homeowners should request that technicians repair leaks rather than simply recharging the unit.

Eventually, homeowners with older AC systems will be required to upgrade to a newer, more environmentally-friendly unit. These newer units use R-410A, a safer refrigerant that can only be used on units specifically designed for it. However, the switch to a newer model can actually have quite a few benefits for your home, your budget, and the environment.

The newest AC systems on the market are designed with energy efficiency in mind. These units are extremely affordable to operate over the lifetime of the unit, and can offer significant savings on your energy bill each month. With the use of safer, more affordable refrigerant, switching to an efficient air conditioner can be the most cost-effective option for homeowners.

If you have an older system and you want to avoid the inconvenience and the cost effects of the freon phase out, it may be time to consider upgrading to a new air conditioning system. These energy-efficient air conditioners can save you money over the life of the unit and help protect the environment along the way. Contact us today to get your air conditioner or heat pump ready for spring with a tune-up or upgrade.

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