AC Leaking Refrigerant in RaleighSo you got the bad news from your ac service technician that your coil or ac system is low on refrigerant. So what are your options, or better yet, what do you do?

Well you have some options, depending on how old your AC system is, and what type of refrigerant is in the system.

Here are some options, if your system is newer and uses R410A refrigerant;

  1. Replace the leaking part; if your condenser or evaporator coil is leaking, it could be under warranty and this is good...
  2. Replace your system, if you had more than a few major issues and decided its time to replace it.
  3. Charge your system up, and take a chance to see how long it will take to leak out.

If you decide on the last option, you should consult with the ac technician to perform a leak check to advise where the leak is. By charging your system up, you are buying some time to save up or budget for a larger repair or replacement.

If your system is older and uses R22 Refrigerant, which is phasing out;

  1. Replace the leaking part, and have the tech replace the refrigeration with an R22 replacement. Steps must be made for this to be completed properly.
  2. Replace your system, and install a more efficient system that will also use a newer refrigerant.
  3. Charge your system up. This will be an expensive choice, as R22 is phasing out, and its cost has risen dramatically.

Whichever choice you make, discuss these options with the service tech. You always have choices and time to make a decision.

The Future of Refrigerant

Approximately 25 years ago, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated the phase-out of R-22 as the result of growing environmental concerns. Acting in accordance of The Clean Air Act, the phase-out was enacted to protect the Earth’s ozone layer from the ozone-depleting compound (chlorine) found in R-22. Production of new air conditioning units charged with R-22 ended in 2010, and by 2020 the servicing of R-22-based systems will rely solely on recycled or reclaimed refrigerants.

Though chemical manufacturers will no longer be able to produce and companies will no longer be able to import R-22 for use in new equipment, they can continue production and import of R-22 until 2020 for use in servicing existing equipment. For the next 10 years, R-22 should continue to be available for all current systems.

Alternatives. As R-22 is gradually phased out, alternative refrigerants are being introduced. One of these substitutes is R-410A, a blend of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that does not contribute to depletion of the ozone layer. R-410A is manufactured and sold under various trade names, including GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, Forane® 410A and Puron®.

If you have any questions or need to discuss options to replace or repair your ac system, contact us R & S Mechanical, home of the "ComfortGuy" at (919) 302-8956.