One of my rites of Texas spring, taking place every April or May, comes after I switch on my home aircon device for the first time of the yr — and warm air blows out.
My AC guy comes over and provides a couple of pounds of Freon refrigerant to the system. Suddenly, I need to grab a sweatshirt.
Along with this, every 12 months like clockwork, my AC guy — and there’s now not only one here — attempts to promote a new unit. He explains that the vintage refrigerant, Freon R-22, may be phased out by way of January 2020.
Yeah, certain, OK. Whatever. Just deliver me multiple pounds, and I’ll see you next year.
If you’re a homeowner, you’ve probably heard a few version of this income rap, too.
But this yr become one-of-a-kind.
The different week, while warm air blew out, my annual 2-pound Freon leak had grown to a record 8 pounds. That’s an environmental change.
My penalty? The fee for a pound of Freon (a registered trademark of the Chemours Co.) from this agency went from $65 consistent with pound remaining 12 months to $95 consistent with pound this yr. I decided that spending extra than $700 for a recharge didn’t make sense.
I did something you can no longer want to do.
I fell for the rap. Converted my gadget to the brand new refrigerant, known as R410A, also referred to as Puron. I spent thousands to buy a new condenser, new evaporator coil, and the brand new refrigerant.
Was it essential?
After a long time in use, the manufacturing of R-22 involves a halt in 8 months by means of authorities order. Apparently, it’s essential enough to store the ozone stage in the environment that the federal authorities mandated this segment-out to make manner for the brand new refrigerant.
You don’t need to make the conversion. But the fee of Freon is possibly going to climb and climb, so it’s nearly prohibitive to hold the usage of it. That’s the plan.
I didn’t should do it. I may want to have saved pouring money into recharges. I could have requested them to find the leak and try to seal it.
I even should have tried to transform my machine for a decrease fee without upgrading all the components. Maybe.
I decided to make the leap.
Ask a professional
The Watchdog worries about homeowners and landlords who don’t have the cash to pay for HVAC conversions.
So I referred to as Roy Jones, president of the Texas Air Conditioning Contractors Association, for steerage. He’s the commercial sales manager for a Lubbock HVAC organization.
“To me,” he stated, “the government has positioned the consumer in a bad role.”
“The customers are looking to depend upon their provider to manual them,” he says. “And there are quite a few human beings in the industry who are also stressed because it’s now not clean. Even the Environmental Protection Agency is not clear on its tips.”
Is this necessary?
Jones says you may hold using the antique Freon, but you’ll discover businesses that promote recycled Freon — probably at a higher value.
“Consumers may additionally need to call around and test pricing with sellers,” he informed me.
The price of a pound of Freon relies upon on a provider’s markup.
The value of a machine switch-over like I had can run from $1,500 to $15,000, depending on what’s involved, Jones said.
“The first component you need to do is see if the leak can be fixed,” he said.
It’s a chance.
Do you want to take the hazard and make repairs and wish the gadget will keep out? Or do you want to wave the white flag, surrender and help save the ozone (but now not necessarily your pocketbook)?
“A lot of instances, the device should be replaced that might be repaired or changed, due to the advice of the dealer,” he stated.
I translate that to mean: Don’t always agree with the whole lot you hear. Check it out. Getting 2d and 1/3 evaluations/bids from distinct companies look as if the nearest path to take.
Jones says, “It’s simply now not going to be chief trouble. It’s not going to be a disaster.”
AC gadgets installed after 2010 are imagined to already use the new refrigerant.
Note: If you live within the Oncor service place, you may qualify for “incentives starting from $300 as much as $3,000,” in step with Oncor’s internet site. Your supplier can help with that. It relies upon on what form of set up is executed and the property proprietor’s geographic area.