As a company which provides air conditioning service in Arlington, TX – we receive multiple calls each day. Some want us to install their air conditioning systems, some contact us for repairing the units, while others consult us to guide them through the purchase of a new air conditioner. We guide them and help them accordingly. However, during our visits and on-call customer interviews, we are often left surprised at the lack of consideration air conditioning refrigerants receive from homeowners and as well as some technicians.
- Refrigerants are nowhere on the subject list of exploration when customers want to purchase a new unit.
- Customers are not aware of environmental concerns a refrigerant leak may cause.
- Untrained technicians mishandle refrigerants during the servicing of air conditioners.
In short, air conditioning refrigerant continues to be an ignored subject in servicing and purchasing of new units.
However, the US Government is now tightening its grip over the regulation of laws which direct the servicing, manufacturing, importing and consumption of refrigerants used in air conditioning systems. And as an air conditioning service in Arlington, TX we decided to take this blogging opportunity and educate our customers about how this measure will affect their currently installed air conditioning units and any future purchases.
An Overview of Refrigerants Currently in Use
CFCs were the first class of refrigerants to be used in air conditioning systems. However, because of their negative impact on the ecosystem, they were gradually replaced by HCFCs. This out-phasing of CFCs was administered through an international treaty, the Montreal Protocol, which was signed in 1987. As time passed and researches were conducted, HCFCs too were found to disturb the stability of the ecosystem–although less than the earlier produced CFCs. Amendments were carried out in the Montreal Protocol (to be discussed later) and this time the focus has been a gradual out-phasing of HCFCs, which are to be eventually replaced with alternative refrigerants that have zero ODP (a measure of a refrigerant’s potential to deplete the ozone layer). These amendments are being carried out through the US Clean Air Act which aims to completely phase out HCFCs by the end of 2030.
Currently, the majority of residential air conditioning units in United States utilize HCFC refrigerants (HCFC-22).
What are the environmental concerns which have lead to the shunting of these refrigerants?
The HCFCs and CFCs have been found to be damaging the ozone layer while also producing greenhouse gases which contribute to global warming. This leads to the degradation of plants and marine life, spread of various diseases, inhibited crop yield, rise in sea level – everything which you have read about the harmful effects of global warming and ultraviolet rays.
How are these refrigerants being released in the environment?
This is an important question and as a company which is associated with the industry of air conditioning service in Arlington, TX – we are well positioned to answer it.
The refrigerants are released in the environment through two ways:
- Through leaks which develop in the air conditioning systems over time.
- During the servicing of air conditioning units where some untrained technicians unintentionally release them in the environment.
If refrigerant is leaking from your air conditioner, immediately call an air conditioning service in Arlington, TX which provides trained and certified professionals. It will not only help you to maintain the efficiency of your unit but you would also play your role in conserving and protecting the environment.
How To Determine Which Class of Refrigerants Your Air Conditioning System is Utilizing?
As a general rule of thumb if your home air conditioner has been manufactured before January 1st, 2010 – it is probably utilizing HCFC 22 as the refrigerant. For accurate determination:
- Check the unit’s nameplate which comes fixed on the outdoor units.
- Check the owner’s manual that came with your air conditioner unit
- Refer to the manufacturer’s website
And if you are still struggling to determine the type of refrigerant being used by your air conditioning unit, then simply contact an air conditioning service in Arlington, TX.
What are the Implications of the Montreal Protocol Amendments on Home Owners?
The amendments stress on HCFC usage reduction to atleast 99.5 percent below the baseline levels, by 2020 with a complete phase out by 2030. The production of air conditioning units which utilize HCFCs has already been halted across all states of America. For more details, consult a local air conditioning service in Arlington, TX.
Do You Have to Immediately Replace Your Existing Systems Which Use HCFC-22?
You don’t have to immediately replace your existing systems but since the supply of HCFC-22 has now been inhibited, as a homeowner you may find the servicing difficult and expensive. By 2020, the production of HCFC will completely stop so from then onwards you won’t be able to service your air conditioning units which utilize the refrigerant. Make sure you always hire a certified air conditioning service in Arlington, TX for your installation, repair and servicing needs.
Can You Buy a System Which Uses HCFC-22?
Considering the production of new units has been stalled, you cannot buy a new air conditioning system which utilizes HCFC-22. However, you can still purchase second hand units but the investment won’t be shrewd as the servicing needs will be difficult to fulfill in near future.
Can You Replace a Broken Outdoor Unit Which Utilizes HCFC-22?
Yes you can replace your broken unit with another HCFC-22 condensing unit as long as the replacement meets with state defined efficiency standards. To learn more about this, consult your local air conditioning service in Arlington, TX.
Refrigerants form an important element of air conditioning units. They not only help in the execution of the refrigeration cycle but they also impact the efficiency of your working unit. However, when released in the atmosphere these refrigerants carry environmental hazards. In order to tackle these concerns the federal and state governments are taking actions. As such installation, servicing and purchasing of air conditioner units should take into account the type of refrigerant being utilized. If you need any help regarding the installation, servicing or purchasing of a new air conditioning unit, feel free to contact us.