FREON PHASEOUT IS HERE
It’s 2020 and the last stage for the Freon® phase out is here. McCullough Heating & Air is prepared to replace every R22 system in Austin!
Old R22 Unit
What Austin homeowners need to know about the R22 Phase Out
You keep up to speed with refrigerant regulations in your free time, right? We didn’t think so. Luckily, McCullough Heating & Air has you covered. Here are the major highlights:
- A common air conditioning refrigerant called R22 (or Freon®) is being phased out by the U.S. EPA
- As of January 1, 2020, the coolant can no longer be manufactured or imported.
- The supply of R22 will become more and more limited in the months ahead, causing the price of R22 to rise
- Repairs to R22 equipment will get more and more expensive
The bottom line: homeowners with air conditioners that use R22 should consider a replacement.
Every homeowner is conscious of the costs to maintain a home. No one likes surprises, especially costly ones. If your R22 air conditioner breaks down, the cost of the repair could be double what it was last year. Unfortunately, it’s just a supply and demand issue that we cannot control. That’s why we’re sharing this important update with our Austin neighbors.
So be prepared! No matter what condition your air conditioner is in, it’s a good time to look at replacement options. Better to start researching now than scrambling with a broken AC in the sweltering summer months. Plus, there are a lot of great deals available to homeowners that choose to replace before summer.
Still need more information? We’re here to help. Call us with any questions you have at (512) 280-0011.
Or check out our frequently asked questions about the Freon phase out.
Frequently Asked Questions?
about the Freon® Phase Out
Here at McCullough Heating & Air, we’ve been receiving a lot of questions from Austin homeowners about the Freon® phase out. The answers to these questions will help you make informed decisions for your home.
Refrigerant is a chemical compound that lives inside the piping of your air conditioner. It’s what makes the air in your home cold! It works by changing phases between liquid and gas.
Think about boiling a pot of water with the lid on. You have a compound, H2O, as a liquid form in the pot. Your stove heats the water, and it changes phase to a gas–what we know as steam. The process of changing a liquid to a gas is called evaporation. Then some steam hits the top of the lid. The lid is cooler than the pot because it’s not exposed to the direct heat of the stove. So, some of that steam turns back to liquid in the form of droplets on the inside of the lid. When gas turns to liquid, it is called condensation.
Similarly, your A/C makes use of different components to transform refrigerant back and forth from liquid to gas. You have a condensing unit–the big metal box outside your home. The condensing unit’s job is to turn refrigerant from gas to liquid. You also have an evaporation coil that lives inside your home. The job of the evaporation coil is–you guessed it–to house the piping where refrigerant transforms from liquid to gas.
So what does all this phase change nonsense have to do with keeping things cold? Many years ago, engineers discovered that some compounds can get very cold because of the phase change and stay cold even at hot temperatures. Thus, the idea of refrigeration was born. As warm air from your home travels over tubes full of cold refrigerant, the cold liquid refrigerant absorbs heat from your home and eventually reaches the point of evaporation. Then your AC sends the gas refrigerant coolant back to the condensing unit to be converted to liquid again. The refrigeration cycle repeats over and over, moving heat that was inside your home to the outside condenser unit and then expelling it into the air.
Refrigerants all have different chemical properties, for example, the temperature at which they will evaporate to gas.
When we think about repairing any equipment that uses refrigerant, it is essential to know what type of refrigerant the system has. The equipment in your home was designed to use a particular refrigerant.
Freon® is a brand name for R22 refrigerant. This refrigerant has been used in air conditioners for decades to keep people cool indoors. However, research revealed that R22 refrigerant is a major contributor to damaging the ozone layer. So, the use of Freon® has been phased out. The production and import of Freon® is no longer allowed as of January 1, 2020.
A new refrigerant was developed named R410A. R410A is the refrigerant used in almost all new air conditioners sold in the U.S. This refrigerant is readily available to technicians in Austin and will be for many years to come. Best of all, R410A is not harmful to the ozone layer.
The simple answer is no, you cannot remove Freon from your air conditioner and replace it with R410A. This would be like putting diesel into a car meant to use gasoline. An air conditioner that is built to work with R22 refrigerant cannot work with R410A refrigerant without modifications.
Some Austin companies may offer to change to your system so it can work with R410A or another refrigerant.. This is sometimes called a “drop-in” replacement. Is it possible? Yes. Does McCullough recommend it? Absolutely not.
To go back to our car example, consider this scenario. If diesel was going to be the only fuel on the market, would you alter a 10-year-old gasoline-fueled car engine to work with diesel? No! You would buy a new car with a diesel engine.
There are simply too many risks and downsides to modifying an existing air conditioner so that it works properly. Multiple components must be swapped, and the work must be done perfectly. Chances are high that a modified system will encounter problems. And a faulty retrofit will probably not be covered by the manufacturer’s warranty. Finally, air conditioners are certified for safety with the original coolant type. Dropping in a new refrigerant would void that safety certification.
Not to mention, if your system uses R-22 refrigerant, it’s probably ten years or older. It’s time for a replacement. A new system will be much more efficient, perform better, and provide better comfort for your family.
Finding out what refrigerant your system uses is quick and painless! Take a stroll outside your home in our beautiful Austin weather and visit your air conditioning unit. The equipment should have a printed label with equipment data on it. The data label should contain the type of coolant used in your system. We recommend snapping a photo with your smartphone’s camera; having this info is helpful to have on-hand! Plus, you can submit your photo to our contest!
If your air conditioner uses R22 refrigerant, you have some options. First, consider how the system has been running for the last year or two. Have you had any problems with your unit? How much have you spent on repairs? Does your system comfortably cool your home?
Keep in mind that manufacturers build most air conditioners to last between 10-15 years. Even if your air conditioner is in great condition now, you’ll probably be looking at replacing it within the next few years.
With all that being said, you have two main options:
- Ride it out–If your system is performing well, you’ve kept it maintained, and you don’t have any noticeable problems, then you may choose not to do anything. In this case, seasonal maintenance is critical. We highly recommend you join our McCullough Comfort Club to keep your R22 air conditioner in top shape for as long as possible. Just remember that with R22 being phased out, any repairs that require refrigerant charge will get more expensive as time passes.
- Research a new air conditioner–If you’ve had many recent repairs, now is a great time to investigate a new system. Exploring the purchase of a new system while your current system is operating is a wise decision. It takes a bit of the pressure off the decision-making process and allows you to make a well-researched purchase. Of course, buying a new air conditioner is expensive and not the most exciting thing to spend your hard-earned money on. But consider the energy savings you’ll get, along with comfort for your family. And, peace of mind that you won’t be dealing with expensive repairs. Right now is a great time to buy with so many specials and financing options available!
Since 1977, McCullough Heating & Air has served our neighbors in the Austin, Texas area. We are a family-owned business providing dependable and trustworthy service. We truly believe in serving fellow Austinites, which is why we make it a priority to give back to the Austin community. You can trust that we put ethics first, every time.
You can count on us for:
- Friendly and knowledgeable technicians
- Fast, on-time service
- No sneaky gimmicks or hidden fees
- High-quality heating and air conditioning products
- Great attitude always in stock
We serve the complete Austin, TX area including Round Rock, Cedar Park, Pflugerville, Lost Creek, Rollingwood, Leander, Steiner Ranch, River Place, Jester Estates, Tarrytown, Great Hills, Balcones, Anderson Mill, Westlake Hills, and Georgetown.
Allow us to help you transition from an old R22 unit to a modern, efficient air conditioner. Our team is based right here in the Austin area, so we can swing by whenever you’re ready to talk. Call us today at (512) 280-0011.