You probably don’t think much about how your air conditioning system works to keep you cool, but you should know a few things about the refrigerant it uses. Why? If you’re looking to replace your current system with high efficiency equipment, you’ll be switching to a new refrigerant. Right now, about 95% of all air conditioning units produced in the U.S. use R-22 refrigerant, which has been the standard for the past 50 years.
However, the EPA, as part of the Clean Air Act, is phasing out the use of R-22. As of 2010, A/C systems can no longer be made using this compound. R-22 refrigerant is known to contribute to ozone depletion when released into the environment. The new refrigerant, R-410A, contains no chlorine and therefore will meet the strict new EPA standards.
For consumers, this is really no cause for alarm. You won’t have to replace or upgrade your equipment any time soon. R-22 refrigerant will continue to be used to service current systems until 2020 and even after. Since the new R-410A refrigerant will be part of all new high-efficiency systems, the transition for homeowners should be painless.
Remember, though, whether you are installing a new A/C system or servicing your existing one, make sure that your technician has a certificate for handling refrigerants and that he or she properly charges your system. Field studies indicate that as much as 75% of all cooling equipment is improperly charged, which can lower your system’s efficiency by 5-20%. Improper charging also leads to equipment failure and costly repairs.
Our technicians are EPA certified to handle refrigerants. We feel that this is important for homeowners who want to get the most out of their air conditioning, both in energy savings and comfort. Whether your system uses the new or old refrigerant, it’s vital that you keep it charged and running properly.