June 10, 2020
With summer's heat reaching over 90 degrees in Wichita, Kansas, you may be trying to cool things down in your household with your AC Unit. But how old is your AC unit? When was the last time you serviced it?
Something to really look out for before your A/C needs a repair, or when you are buying a house, is to see the age of your A/C, and whether or not it contains the refrigerant R22. If so, you may be in for an expensive repair or replacement when your A/C needs to be serviced.
As of January 1st, 2020, the EPA banned production and import of R22 refrigerant because it is an Ozone-Depleting Substance (ODS). This means it is illegal for companies in the US to make it and it is illegal for anyone to bring it into the US.
"EPA has banned the manufacture of new equipment that contains R-22. As a homeowner, you need to consider and balance several key factors in your decision to purchase a new unit, such as energy efficiency, performance, reliability, cost, and the refrigerant used. "
If your A/C currently uses R22 refrigerant though, don't worry! Use of AC and heat pumps that use R22 is still allowed. However, once it needs a repair, you are looking at two options:
1. Hiring a professional to add modifications to your unit so it can use R410A
2. Upgrading to a new system that uses R410A.
While short term, the initial costs to save money of adding modifications to your unit will seem nice, if your unit is more than 10 years old, it is more than likely nearing the end of its life and will need to be replaced in the coming years to follow.
It is possible to be able to purchase what is left of R-22 in the A/C & Heating market, but there are many refrigerants that cannot be used as a direct substitute without dire consequences. One of those refrigerants that cannot replace R-22 is R-22a. As stated by the EPA:
"R-22a or 22a refrigerant has been falsely marketed as HCFC-22 or an HCFC-22 replacement, but it is a hydrocarbon refrigerant blend whose primary components include flammable substances such as propane and butane. In some cases, it may also contain small amounts of other hydrocarbons or a pine-scented odorant.
This refrigerant is highly flammable and not an acceptable alternative for your residential A/C system. Because R-22a is flammable and an HCFC-22 A/C system does not have safety features to address flammability, it can burn or explode if there is enough product concentrated in one space and the refrigerant comes in contact with an ignition source."
EPA also states that "HCFC-22a has been sold under the names of Blue Sky 22a, Coolant Express 22a, DURACOOL-22a, EC-22, Ecofreeze EF-22a, Enviro-safe 22a, ES-22a, Frost 22a, Maxi-Fridge, MX-22a, Oz-Chill 22a, Priority Cool, and RED TEK 22a." Please visit EPA's overview of HCFC-22a for more information.
It is vital that you call a certified technician to repair your system rather than do it yourself, as it can cause harm and cost more to repair or modify your system.
If you are buying a house and are concerned about what type of A/C system is installed, call us. As part of the normal home inspection process, this is a key element we look for in your HVAC system. Having trained professionals inspect your system will help you determine your needs and what options you have.
https://www.epa.gov/sites/production/files/2015-07/documents/phasing_out_hcfc_refrigerants_to_protect_the_ozone_layer.pdf https://www.epa.gov/ods-phaseout/homeowners-and-consumers-frequently-asked-questions https://www.epa.gov/section608/stationary-refrigeration-safe-disposal-requirements
We are certified through the world’s largest organization of residential and commercial property inspectors known as the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors, or InterNACHI.
Being one of the only Certified Master Inspectors in South-Central Kansas, we pride ourselves in staying up to date on certifications for knowledge on building standards and regulations to ensure we give you the most accurate representation of the property you are interested in buying.
We can save you hundreds or thousands with our detailed inspection report that you’ll receive the same day of the inspection and you can use this as negotiation power to get repairs fixed before you move in or to save money on the property itself in lieu of repairs.
By hiring us, you will receive benefits such as discounted Radon Testing with an inspection, and $100 towards future home projects with the Porch Home Assistant Gold Program where you will receive discounts on hiring movers, scheduling repairs, improvements, appliance installation and more.
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