The weather along the Front Range has been coasting around 60 degrees during the day for a week or two, which means that homeowners can almost go without having their heating or air conditioning turned on. A significant benefit of warm spring weather is seeing lower energy bills in the mail, but a side effect of this is that it gets us (or least the EPA) thinking about how to make HVAC systems more efficient in general.
Which brings us to the chemical Freon. Also known as hydrochlorofluorocarbons, or HCFCs, or R-22, this is what helps cool the air down in refrigerators, the air conditioning in your car, and your home’s AC unit. While the chemical does help to make your home comfortable, it also plays a part in affecting the environment. The New York Times stated that “they [HCFCs] trap thousands of times as much heat in the atmosphere as carbon dioxide.” Because HCFCs are harmful to the environment, the EPA has mandated that the chemical be phased out by 2020.
HVAC Companies Have Been Phasing Out Freon Since 2010
The good news is that most new air conditioning units aren’t made with HCFCs anymore, but with a more environmentally-friendly chemical called R410A, or Puron. However, if you do have a unit that is older than around nine years, it may be challenging to have the unit serviced. Many HVAC companies have been phasing out Freon for the last few years, but when 2020 hits, there will be limited amounts of the chemical and older systems will need to use recycled Freon. After 2020, the chemical won’t be made anymore.
Air Conditioning After 2020
Homeowners aren’t required to purchase new AC units, however, retrofitting older units may be a challenge. New AC units have compressors, coils, and other parts that only work with certain chemicals. Air conditioning technicians can replace the outdoor unit if the coils are compatible with R410A refrigerant, this can also be done without having to modify indoor components. This process can be expensive, but it may also make the unit more energy efficient. Units that are retrofitted with compatible parts will need more frequent checkups to ensure that any chemicals aren’t leaking.
Should You Replace Your AC Unit?
Home air conditioners typically last around 15 years, and if your system was purchased in 2010 or earlier, it may be a good idea to replace the unit anyway. Since then, new technology has helped make systems more efficient, which would mean a new unit would save you money in a variety of ways.
If you do have an older unit that still uses Freon refrigerant, don’t hesitate to contact the HVAC experts at Ace Hi Plumbing, Heating & Air. We have been servicing Northern Colorado homes since 1996 and have seen the industry grow and become more and more efficient. We are proud to provide products that help homeowners save money and experience a comfortable environment in their home.
If you have any questions about the new air conditioning standards, give Ace Hi a call. We’re more than happy to offer some suggestions.