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Wednesday, 1 July 2015
Fix the refrigerant leak now !
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It's summer and it's hot, and with the humidity it's way uncomfortable!  Your air conditioning may not seem to be cooling as well as it used to, or it seems it's having to work overtime to get it cool.  Well, you figure, it's nothing that a shot of Freon can't fix… how expensive can that be? Unfortunately, a lot!

You see, the federal regulations phasing out the "old" Freon known as R-22 means that there is a very limited supply of it.  Like anything driven by supply and demand, as the supply of R-22 has become more restricted and the demand has gone up, the costs have soared.  A shot of Freon a couple of years ago that cost you only about $50 could cost close to $400 now! Some folks have even nick-named R-22 "Liquid Gold." Plus, once 2020 rolls around, R-22 production will be phased out entirely, and will be illegal to import or export.

But there's a bigger issue here. The refrigerant R-22 exists in a closed loop constantly being recirculated inside your system. It is not consumed by the system, so, it should never need replacement.  If your system is running low on refrigerant, that means you have a leak!  Rather than continuing to pay the increased costs to replenish the leaking R-22, the better solution is to find a qualified heating and cooling company to find and repair the leak, wherever it may be.

After the HVAC technician has inspected your system thoroughly, you'll know whether it makes sense to continue investing in your existing system (fixing the source of the leak and replacing the R-22) or whether it makes better sense to purchase a new system.  New systems no longer use R-22 as a refrigerant they use the more environmentally-friendly R-410A, which is a LOT cheaper!  Plus, new systems have been mandated by the government to be more energy efficient, so you'll save money in the long run.

Unfortunately, you can't just put the new refrigerant (R-410A) into an old system designed for R-22.  They operate at different pressures, and your existing evaporator and condenser were not designed to operate at these increased pressures. Plus, R-410A systems require a different type of oil and expansion valve. So, it comes back to the age-old "repair or replace" question.

System leaks can not only harm the environment, but also result in increased operation and maintenance costs.  So, don't sink a few hundred dollars into Freon that will just leak back out!  Get that leak fixed now! 

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Posted on 07/01/2015 7:20 AM by Eddie Hutton
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