Landlords and property managers who face air conditioner repair this summer will come face-to-face with skyrocketing costs for the refrigerant R22, according to a release.

Production of R22 refrigerant has already dropped 90 percent. It is being phased out by the Environmental Protection Agency because it contains environmentally harmful ozone-depleting substances. Production will be prohibited by 2020.

In air conditioner repair, owners face the challenge of whether to repair or to replace a system using R22 refrigerant,  according to the release.

Air conditioner repair refrigerant up 300%

“We are seeing the cost to repair older air conditioners needing additional R22 refrigerant increase by 300 to 400 percent, and that cost is only expected to increase as summer continues,” Dave Moody, Vice President of Marketing and Customer Engagement for Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning, said in the release.

“The air conditioner repair cost increases are helping drive many owners to upgrade to a new air conditioning system to be comfortable, as they can also save up to 50% on energy bills right away.”

New air conditioning systems use the more environmentally friendly R410A refrigerant. It is a different refrigerant that cannot be mixed or used in an existing air conditioner or heat pump designed for R22. Currently, reclamation and recycling of R22 is expected to be sufficient for existing systems. It is a higher cost. But it provides time to upgrade systems before the phase-out period.

“Owners don’t have to replace their entire system now. But, it’s helpful for them to know their options in this situation,” Moody said.

Landlords cannot mix old R22 and new systems

air conditioner repair

Photo copyright by Dayna via creative commons

“It’s important to know you can’t mix R22 and R410A. Replace the outdoor equipment and outdoor coil  when a new R410A system is installed. And the interconnecting refrigerant tubing needs inspecting. These newer systems are often far more energy efficient. They can significantly save on energy costs, sound pollution, or even utilize alternative energy sources like solar energy.”

The average life-span of many air conditioners is 8 to 10 years. This can help a landlord determine the cost benefit of either paying the premium price for R22 to repair older systems, versus upgrading.

Upgrading allows the ability to get energy rebates. Plus the upgrade can improve a tenant’s efficient use of energy. New equipment will also have longer warranty periods. Plus has quieter operation, and the peace of mind of a more ozone-friendly refrigerant.

Related story: What is your number one maintenance request from tenants?

Resources:

Freon prices will skyrocket this summer

Phase-out of ozone depleting substances

Managing refrigerant in stationary refrigeration and air conditioning equipment

ABOUT SERVICE EXPERTS HEATING & AIR CONDITIONING NORTH AMERICA

Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning locations have been serving their communities with air conditioning and heating repair, maintenance plans and new system installation for decades, and the average age of their service centers is over 50 years. Headquartered in Plano, TX, Service Experts has 90 locations across 29 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces.