For those of you that have older heat pumps and AC systems, there is some bad news that you should be aware of. It happened virtually overnight. The price of R-22 has skyrocketed!
The report below was released from ACCA (Air conditioning Contractors of America).
Since early January 2012, the price of R-22 refrigerant, which is used in many air conditioning systems has risen as much as 400% in cost. We don’t know how high R-22 will go up in price. These are direct costs that we have to pay and we have no choice but to pass those costs along, which is why your refrigerant may be higher than it used to be.
The U.S. EPA controls the production and import of R-22 refrigerant. They set limits on how much can be produced and imported each year, but they failed to set limits for 2012. Until the EPA sets these limits, manufacturers must produce 45% less R-22 refrigerant than they did last year. This creates uncertainty in the marketplace and the manufacturers have increased their prices.
The earliest the EPA will announce its decision is summer 2012. Nobody knows what the final 2012 limits will be. Until the EPA makes its decision, the market will remain uncertain and prices may continue to rise.
As a professional contractor, our goal is to provide you with the best possible products and services at the best possible value. Unfortunately, we have no control over the cost of a commodity like R-22 refrigerant. We apologize for any inconvenience and hope Washington resolves this issue soon.
Fortunately, All Seasons Heating and Cooling has been installing R-410A systems for the last 12 years, and the recent increase in R-22 is not a factor with the systems we have installed. It is, however, a major issue for customers with older systems that need repairs that require R-22 refrigerant. If you have an older system that uses R-22 and it needs an expensive repair; it may be a wiser choice to replace it now with a new system using R-410A rather than repairing it due to the increased cost of R-22.
Heat Pump and AC Systems are closed looped and should never leak refrigerant. Remember, refrigerant doesn’t go bad or evaporate; it leaks out and must be replaced to keep the system operating to factory specifications. Leaks can occur anywhere within the piping of a system. The loss of refrigerant will lead to higher utility bills and more expensive repairs. It is a best practice to locate any refrigerant leaks and have them repaired (if feasible) at the time of service to prevent further damage of your system.
Bottom-line: R-22 refrigerant is being phased out by the E.P.A. and the cost will continue to rise until there is little or no demand for it.
For further information: http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phaseout/hcfc.html