The Benefits of Replacing the Existing Refrigerant In Your AC System

Property owners and homeowners who own and operate an air conditioner that was bought and installed before 2010 have to give some thought of the fact that they are using an AC system that will increasingly become more expensive to repair and service with each passing year.


Since 2010, the enactment of the Clean Air Act of 2010, the EPA has mandated that the traditional hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) be phased out gradually with the intention of a total ban in 2020. Beyond 2020, these refrigerants will not be used except in the very exception set out the Montreal Protocol.


The immediate cause of concern is the inevitability of R22 and other refrigerants that have molecules of refrigerants to refilling, hence the urgent need to replace or retrofit your AC to use alternative refrigerants. However, there are benefits to be accrued from using the alternative refrigerants. While investing to use alternative refrigerants comes with some cost implications, there are also benefits to be experienced. As such, herein we will explore the various benefits of replacing your existing chlorine based refrigerant with the recommended alternatives.


Alternative Refrigerants Are Better For Our Environment

Both the HCFCs and other traditional refrigerants are renowned for having a high rating of Global Warming Potential and Ozone Depletion Potential. This means that refrigerants such as Freon and other HCFs have a chemical makeup that allows them to first and foremost trap solar radiation in the atmosphere, thereby enhancing the increment of the atmospheric temperature.


Furthermore, the chlorine molecules in the chemicals also tend to react with the oxygen molecules in the ozone layers, thereby depleting the ozone layer. As such, the HFC and HCFC do yield devastating effects on our environment.


This is a huge problem in a world that is grappling with climate change, environmental degradation, and an ever-increasing strain on natural resources. It makes sense to pull all stops to change the tide of global warming and environmental degradation; replacing your existing refrigerants helps in this cause. You will be taking part in the global effort to help mother nature heal, and thereby avert the devastating effects of global warming. Consider this:


The alternatives that are already on the market tend to have little to no effects on our environment, including our atmosphere. Carbone dioxide (R744), ammonia (R717, NH3), and water have been found to have a GWP of 1, the least amount of GWP of all the alternatives. In the same light, these alternative refrigerant have been found to have very little impact on the ozone layer, hence their low ODP ratings. These and many other alternatives will help preserve our environment for future generation.


Alternative Refrigerants Are Cheaper


There are also cost benefits that you accrue from replacing your existing refrigerants. Some of the benefits are instance while others you will experience them cumulatively over time. However, a good place to start understanding the cost benefits of alternative refrigerants is the price comparison.


As the HCFCs are being phased out of the market, they are becoming increasingly difficult to find. For instance, since 2016, the price of R-22 has more than doubled due to the dwindling supplies of the chemical. This trend is only expected to continue as the EPA’s end of production date, in 2020 draws closer.


As such, should your AC that uses R-22 as a refrigerant develop a leak, you can be sure of spending quite a lot of money to refill it to and get it back to optimal functioning capacity. On the other hand, alternative refrigerants are readily available on the market. As such, they are competitively priced, giving you access to a far cheaper refrigerant.


Beyond alternative refrigerant being considerably cheaper, alternative refrigerants are also far more energy efficient. Case in point, research conducted on the use of ammonia as an R-22 replacement has found ammonia to be anywhere between 3% and 20% more efficient.


The higher efficiency ratings translate to more energy efficient air conditioners as they require less energy to achieve the same level of air conditioning as a traditional refrigerant would. This bodes well to reduce energy consumption, which in turn bodes well for your finances. You end up spending less on utility bills due to using air conditioners in your home.


There is also the cost of delays associated with using R-22 and other refrigerants that are on the chopping board. With the increased scarcity of R-22, servicing air conditioners that require this chemical has become a daunting task. For starters, there is the issue of tracking down the chemical and shipping it to your location come into play.


This entire process is quite time-consuming. The AC technical will have to dedicate a considerable amount of time to have the AC fixed, which further increases the cost of servicing and repairing an AC. Alternative refrigerants from are available on the mass market and technicians can purchase the refrigerants on a need basis without delays. As such, using the alternatives makes your AC much cheaper to run and maintain.


The serviceability of ACs that run on R-22 is compromised by the lack of servicing supplies. For AC technicians to service an AC, they need to access the various components associated with the AC. This means that for an AC technician to serve you with as promptly as possible, he or she needs to access the various parts needed. In the case of ACs running HCFCs, finding the refrigerant will increasingly become hard or impossible, making your AC unserviceable.


Beyond that, AC companies and AC part manufacturers are divesting from producing parts that are used in AC that run HCFCs. As such, it will increasingly become harder to find some specialized spare parts that are used in ACs running on R-22.


When all is said and done, there are numerous benefits of replacing your existing refrigerant with one of the alternatives. You do not have to wait till the 2020 deadline to consider replacing the refrigerant. You can start accruing the benefits that come with alternative refrigerants even today.


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