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The Freon®/R22 Phaseout

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The Los Angeles Homeowner’s Guide to the Freon®/R22 Phaseout

January 1, 2020 marked an important change in the heating and cooling industry. A refrigerant that is common to many residential air conditioner units in LA named Freon is in the last stages of a government phaseout.

Because air conditioners are instrumental in leading a comfortable life here in Southern California, we felt it was essential to provide all the relevant information to our customers and neighbors. Brody Pennell Heating & Air Conditioning has been serving the Greater Los Angeles area since 1945. We know that LA homeowners trust our knowledge and experience. So when it comes to regulatory changes like the R22 phaseout, you can rest assured we’ll be here answering all of your questions.

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Ready to get started with your service or repairs? Schedule your appointment online, or give us a call at (310) 896-4911.

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Lingo to Know: Refrigerant Types

There are several types of coolant used in air conditioners today, and to add to the confusion, the chemicals go by several different names.

R-22 refrigerant also goes by R22 or Freon.

R410A refrigerant goes by R-410A or sometimes, Puron.

Will the Freon Phaseout Affect You?

The Freon phaseout will have some impact on you if your air conditioning unit uses the refrigerant. Luckily, it’s straightforward to find out whether this is the case.

Head outside and look at your air conditioner unit. Somewhere on the outside, you’ll find a label with data and information about the unit. Look for a line item on the chart for refrigerant or refrigerant type. Most likely, the printed data will state that your unit contains R22 or R410A refrigerant.

Here’s a pro-tip our NATE-certified technicians use all the time. If the data label on your air conditioner is in a tight spot to see clearly (or if your eyesight is going… no judgment!), use your smartphone to capture a flash picture of the data label.

If the data label on your air conditioner reads R22 or Freon, the Freon phaseout impacts your system. Keep reading to learn more about what the phaseout is and how it can influence decisions for your home.

My AC uses Freon. What does that mean?

If your AC uses Freon, get informed. There are a few things you need to know about the chemical that’s cooling your Los Angeles home.

  • The refrigerant cannot be produced after January 1, 2020
  • Air conditioners with R22 are getting older, so they will need more repairs
  • Because the supply of R22 is limited, the cost of AC repairs will rise

My LA home uses R22 refrigerant. What are my options?

The short answer is this: you will need to replace your air conditioner sometime soon, probably in the next year or two.

Air conditioners are not built to work forever. And while proper maintenance can extend the life of your unit to 15 years or longer, most air conditioners last around ten years. And given that the final units built for R22 refrigerant were in 2010, it means the time for your air conditioner to be replaced could be sooner rather than later.

But – should you replace now or hold on to the bitter end? The first thing to do is to evaluate the situation. There are several questions that will help guide your decision. Consider these questions:

  • Comfort – Does your air conditioner provide adequate comfort to you and your family? Or, is your air conditioner struggling to perform? How about noise: is your A/C particularly loud or noisy?
  • Repairs – Have you had to call on us for AC repair more than once in the last two years?
  • Service – Has the air conditioner received annual air conditioner maintenance visits from a qualified professional?
  • Utility Bills – Are your energy bills rising year over year? Is your electricity bill much higher than your neighbors? Do you want to improve the energy efficiency of your home?
  • Timeline – Do you anticipate any significant life events in the next few years, such as retirement, selling the home, or a change in employment?

With more information about your unique situation, you’ll be better equipped to decide what to do.

Option 1: Wait it Out

If you don’t have any apparent comfort problems with your Freon air conditioner, you might choose to do nothing. This is a perfectly acceptable option. One positive note on this path is that you won’t have any expenses, for now anyway. It may give you a little time to start socking away funds for the replacement air conditioner.

Here’s the risk with this path: it’s not a matter of if your air conditioner will break down, but when. And when it does, we can guarantee it will not be at a time that it’s convenient not to have air conditioning in your home. Another downside of waiting is that R22 refrigerant will get more expensive. Although many contractors have stockpiled R22 before the ban on the production, the only way to replenish the stockpile is with recycled refrigerant. As the years go on, Freon will get more and more expensive as it becomes scarce.

So, while you may be trying to save money up-front, keep in mind your future repair will be more costly.

Option 2: Investigate Replacement

A new air conditioner can cost as much as a nice vacation. So we understand – it’s not particularly fun or exciting to imagine spending your hard-earned cash this way. However, there is a significant benefit to looking down the replacement path. But because your air conditioner is already running just fine, now is the perfect time to shop for a new air conditioner.

Just think: if your AC stops working, and the repair is too costly, you may decide that it’s best to replace it. Unless you want to endure the Los Angeles summer for a few weeks, you need to make a quick decision! And you’ll be subject to whatever product pricing and availability there is on that day.

By researching a new air conditioner while your current R22 system is still running, you can keep an eye out for specials or rebates. And, you can talk with our team about financing, which can make the cost of a new air conditioner much more palatable.

Brody Pennell can help with your Freon Phaseout questions

Unsure of what to do? We are here for you – yesterday, today, and tomorrow. Serving the greater LA area for 75 years, we are recognized by our customers as knowledgeable, professional, and caring. We put your interests first, every time. So if you have questions about the R22 phaseout, put your trust in Brody Pennell to make a recommendation. Schedule a visit by one of our trained professionals, and we’ll provide our expert opinion on your best course of action. Give us a call today at (310) 896-4911.

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