This summer, just like every summer before it, there have been hundreds of consumers without functional air conditioning. Their main complaint is that there is no cold air blowing. What causes this problem? Nine times out of ten it will be a refrigerant leak. If this has happened to you, chances are the technician gave you three options:
- Fill up the unit with refrigerant
- Repair the leak
- Replace the unit
Hopefully you made the right choice, but unfortunately most people just fill up the unit with refrigerant, cross their fingers, and hope that it doesn’t leak out before the summer heat ends. Why would they take this risk? The reason why is because of all three options, filling the unit with refrigerant is by far the cheapest initially. Most people do not consider the long term possibilities. If the unit is low on refrigerant that means that there is leak somewhere in the system. It is often very costly to find the leak and then repair it, but if it is not done, the unit will continue to leak.
An a/c unit that has a refrigerant leak is being overworked daily. The compressor has to work harder and harder because the unit has to run longer to get the temperature in the home down low enough to turn off. Over time, a unit that is constantly refilled will end up having other major problems. In most cases the problem will be a blown compressor. If that happens, you are better off replacing the entire unit.
Depending on the age of the unit, replacement is always recommended. Once a unit is over ten years old, it is possible that one refrigerant leak will lead to another and another. That leak is not only costing you hundreds of dollars annually to recharge, but it is also taking a toll on your unit and the environment. You could either invest hundreds of dollars in repairs or replace the unit all together.
Refrigerant and the Environment
For twenty three years now, the EPA has been taking action against ozone-depleting refrigerants. Originally there were CFC’s or chlorofluorocarbons. The chlorine present in this compound was causing massive damage to our ozone layer, and was eventually replaced with HCFC’s or hydrochlorofluorocarbons. These are a lot better than CFC’s but they still contain harmful chlorine. Also, the production of this type of refrigerant results in the creation of another by- product that also contributes to global warming.
Chances are the air conditioning unit in your home uses an HCFC known as R-22. If your unit has a leak in it, then you are contributing to the ozone depletion. Continuing to refill a unit with this problem only increases the problem caused by this type of refrigerant. R-22 is currently being phased out, and is going to be replaced by chlorine-free R-410A. You will hear that R-410A is ridiculously expensive to run a system on if there is leak. This may have been true in the past, but as the phase out progresses, R-410A will become more popular as R-22 becomes more and more scarce. It is this scarcity that will drive up the cost of R-22. Not converting to R-410A will eventually not become an option. The EPA has begun a ban on the manufacturing of air conditioning units and heat pumps that require R-22. That ban started this year, 2010! By 2020, R-22 will no longer be produced, and by 2030, if not sooner, all of the remaining R-22 will be gone!
Take Advantage of the Tax Credit
So why should you hang onto a unit that is costing you hundreds to maintain, killing your environment, and going to have to be replaced anyways? You shouldn’t! It may hurt to have to invest so much money at once, but right now is the best time to buy! If you replace your unit this year, you can still take advantage of the government tax credit that is being offered. They are offering up to $1,500 in tax credits if you replace your old inefficient and ozone killing unit with a new Energy Star qualifying air conditioner! But, you have to purchase and install the unit by December 31, 2010!
How Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning Can Help:
Four Seasons Heating and Air Conditioning offers a full line of Lennox brand air conditioners. Almost every unit in that line is Energy Star rated and many qualify for the government tax credit! We boast high quality, energy efficient and environmentally friendly units. Every single unit that we sell today is run on ozone friendly R-410A! Four Seasons service technicians are EPA certified, NATE certified, and certified heat exchanger experts, and they are ready to work with this new grade of refrigerant. We have prepared our company to take proper responsibility for the effect our industry has on the environment, and you can trust that we are here to help you do the same. We are here for all of Chicago so, call in and schedule a free estimate today!