Every year new supplies of R-22 refrigerant are dwindling as it’s being gradually phased out because of the environmental and health hazards it poses. If your home’s cooling system uses R-22, also known by the brand name Freon, you could face sticker shock if your current air conditioning system needs more refrigerant. When Canada signed the Montreal Protocol, it agreed to restrict and eventually stop the availability of this environmentally hazardous chemical.
The amount available is declining on an annual basis. Between the years 2006 and 2015, the amount available will have declined by 90 percent. Since the majority of cooling equipment in use today requires R-22 (rather than the newer, more environmentally benign formula R-410A), the price for new R-22 will continue to escalate. Homeowners who have older cooling systems may be financially better off replacing their current equipment with an R-410A reliant system than paying top dollar for R-22 refrigerant.
In Ontario, the current standard for the minimum efficiency of a central cooling system stands at 14 SEER (seasonal energy efficiency ratio). Depending on the age and condition of your cooling equipment and its SEER rating, replacing your system could be a financially smart move. Rather than paying high electrical bills throughout the summer to run an older, inefficient system, a new air conditioner will cut consumption, eventually paying for itself by lowering energy bills.
An easy way to compare your savings is to consider that each numeric increase in the SEER rating indicates that the appliance uses 10 percent less electricity. If your old equipment has a SEER rating of 10, for example, and you upgrade to a 14 SEER system, you’re electrical consumption could decline by as much as 40 percent.
Besides being more energy efficient, new systems offer features that increase indoor comfort, such as variable-speed blowers that run more slowly and continuously, and as a result remove more humidity. Another upgrade is a dual-speed compressor that usually will run at a lower, energy-saving speed, and only ramp up to high speed when absolutely necessary.
If you’d like more information on the R-22 refrigerant phase-out and advice from our experts, please contact us at Ken Philp Plumbing, Heating, Air Conditioning and Refrigeration. We’ve provided trusted HVAC services for the Owen Sound area for nearly 30 years.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Owen Sound, Ontario and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about R-22 refrigerant and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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