New and efficient air conditioning units built by manufacturers such as Lennox or Armstrong can save you about 50% on cooling costs.
As you get ready for the cooling season, (also known as the construction season or summer), you may have a decision to make that could save you as much as $750, or, could cost you much more in the next few years.
Most air conditioning units have a life span of about 13 years, give or take a year or two, says Kendall Richards, President of All Comfort Services. Those homeowners having air conditioners approaching the end of their life spans should prepare to make a choice between which type of Freon their new unit will have.
There are two types of Freon: R-22 Freon or the new R-410A Freon refrigerant. What’s the difference? “R-410A has fewer CFC’s [chlorofluorocarbons] and is designed to have less impact on the earth’s ozone layer, and global warming),” says Richards. Some freons go by different names like Prozone or Puron, but regardless of the name, they are all R-410A. R-410A is the new generation of refrigerant and is the primary choice at the time because it does not deplete the Ozone layer.
In fact, some major manufacturers such as Lennox and Armstrong don’t manufacture standard or premier models that use R-22. However, this doesn’t mean R-22 units are not manufactured or sold. Roughly half of all dealers actively sell equipment that uses R-22. They sell on price because the units are available for about $500 less than units with R410A. For someone selling a home or for a homeowner who rarely uses air conditioning, this may be the unit of choice. For those who will be spending more time in their home over the summer months, the R410A is the likely refrigerant of choice because it is more cost effective and eco-friendly.
Facts About R-22
Here are some common facts about R-22 Freon:
- R-22 has been scientifically proven to have a greater effect on Global Warming Potential and Ozone Depletion
- R-22 units will generally cost about $500 – $750 less than R410A units
- The EPA will allow the production of R-22 residential systems to the year 2010. R-22s will not be manufactured after 2015
- The EPA will allow continued use of R-22 until the year 2030, well past the typical life expectancy of any system installed today
- When repair work is done, the R-22 must be reclaimed and cleaned
- Consumers should be aware that the price of R-22 might increase as supplies dwindle over the next 20 years. This trend could affect maintenance expenses.
The questions about which Freon to use are straightforward. Ask yourself:
- Do I want to make the more environmentally sound choice?
- Do I want to pay $500-$750 less now knowing that aside from the less eco friendly refrigerant, I may inquire higher repair and maintenance costs?
- Or do I pay more initially knowing I am making a better environmental choice as well as benefiting from lower operation and maintenance costs over the life of the equipment?
Getting Some Credit
According to Richards, another benefit of high efficiency products is the ability to take advantage of tax credits. With FocusOnEnergy.com rewards alone, buying a new and efficient furnace, air conditioner, or water heater may qualify you for a credit of up to $450. Check online for details.