HELPFUL ARTICLES & HVAC TIPS
R-22 refrigerant contains chemicals which are known to damage the ozone layer. As long as your system is operating properly, the refrigerant stays safely inside it and has no impact on the environment. But eventually all systems will wear out often resulting in the refrigerant leaking into the outside air.
The R-22 refrigerant phase-out is a 10 year process which the EPA started in 2010. Production of R-22 systems stopped in 2010. Each year of the 10 year process, the amount of R-22 that can be manufactured has been decreased. The phase-out will continue until 2020, at which point R-22 production will not be allowed.
HOW DOES THE PHASEOUT AFFECT YOU?
If you have an older system that was installed before 2010, odds are it probably uses R-22 refrigerant. Repairs will become more expensive. As the supply of R-22 shrinks, the cost will increase considerably. The rising costs of repairs will impact the decision of whether to repair or replace your system. By 2020 R-22 will no longer be produced. Though there will be some recycled R-22 on the market at this point, the small supply may make repairs unfeasible. There will also be replacement refrigerants –the 400 series of R-22. However, using a replacement refrigerant can lead to issues such as improper lubrication and capacity losses of up to 12% which can affect system performance. Use of replacement refrigerants will void equipment warranties.
The R-22 phase-out is not all bad news. Systems now contain R-410A refrigerant which is better for the environment and these systems are more energy efficient. If you have any questions about the R-22 phase-out contact the professionals at TCAC. We will be happy to explain your options to help you make an educated decision.
10 Tips for Hiring a Heating and Cooling Contractor
1. Study up — Find out about license and insurance requirements for contractors in your state. And before you call a contractor, know the model of your current system and its maintenance history. Also make note of any uncomfortable rooms. This will help potential contractors better understand your heating needs.
2. Ask for referrals — Ask friends, neighbors, and co-workers for contractor referrals. You can also contact local trade organizations for names of members in your area.
3. Call references — Ask contractors for customer references and call them. Ask about the contractor's installation or service performance, and if the job was completed on time and within budget.
4. Find special offers — A heating and cooling system is one of the largest purchases you'll make as a homeowner. Keep your costs down by checking around for available rebates on energy-efficient ENERGY STAR qualified heating and cooling equipment. Begin your search at www.energystar.gov.
5. Look for ENERGY STAR — ENERGY STAR qualified products meet strict energy efficiency guidelines set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and offer significant long-term energy savings. Contractors should be able to show you calculations of savings for ENERGY STAR heating and cooling equipment.
6. Expect a home evaluation — The contractor should spend significant time inspecting your current system and home to assess your needs. A bigger system isn't always better; a contractor should size the heating and cooling system based on the size of your house, level of insulation, and windows. A good contractor will inspect your duct system (if applicable) for air leaks and insulation and measure airflow to make sure it meets manufacturers specifications.
7. Get written, itemized estimates — When comparing contractors' proposals (bids), be sure to compare cost, energy efficiency and warranties. A lowest price may not be the best deal if it's not the most efficient because your energy costs will be higher.
8. Get it in ink — Sign a written proposal with a contractor before work gets started. It'll protect you by specifying project costs, model numbers, job schedule and warranty information.
9. Pass it on — Tell friends and family about ENERGY STAR. Almost one-quarter of households knowingly purchased at least one qualified product last year, and 71% of those consumers say they would recommend ENERGY STAR to a friend. Spread the word, and we can all make a big difference.