Advice From the Pros

r22 freon

R22 Refrigerant: What is it and Why is it being phased out?

r22 freon

Refrigerant is what cools the air coming out of your air conditioning unit. If your system is 10 years or older it probably uses a refrigerant called R22. This refrigerant became the main chemical used after its introduction in the 1950s. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) was founded in 1970 to protect human health and the environment. Afterwards, many household systems and cleaners were found to have harmful effects on people and the earth.

EPA Rules

Under the Clean Air Act, R22 was found to contain an ozone depleting chlorine and the EPA with other groups and agencies started to phase out the refrigerant. In 2015 the production and importation of R22 compatible air conditioning units was prohibited and only what was left in the country could be used. The goal is that by 2020, the United States would no longer need R22. The EPA rules will most likely not apply to HVAC equipment built after 2010. If your unit was purchased before 2010 there are a few options for you to consider as a result of R22 being phased out.

If you are unsure as to how old your unit is, contact us and we will come out to inspect it and be able to assist in what steps you want to take next. You could retrofit your system by changing the parts and making it compatible with new approved refrigerant. However, that is a lengthy process and is not a lasting solution.

Make the Switch

Switching out the parts may give you a few more years with your HVAC unit.  You can use R22 until 2020, but costs to service these now outdated units is beginning to rise. You may lose more money sticking it out than making the switch. The best option then may be to purchase a new unit as soon as possible. An upgraded HVAC system will be more environmentally friendly and cut heating and cooling costs as a result of not requiring R22.

Alternatives have been created and one is R-410A, which is a blend of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) that don’t harm the atmosphere. The various trade names for this compound are GENETRON AZ-20®, SUVA 410A®, Forane® 410A and Puron®.

Read more

How to Prepare Your AC Unit For a Storm

Prepare Your AC Unit for a Storm

Wind, rain, and hail are likely to cause serious damage to your home and this includes your HVAC system.  There are steps you can take to ensure that your HVAC system is protected when storms arrive. Here are ways to safeguard your system before bad weather hits.

Secure The Unit

Make sure that your HVAC system is properly secured to the building structure and tie down the condenser. You are not protecting your unit from being blown over necessarily, as that would require extremely strong winds, but from debris laying around. Gardening tools in the yard, children’s toys, and patio furniture are all things that if left out during a storm can be tossed around and could harm your HVAC unit. If you know a storm with high winds is coming make sure to put everything away in the garage or shed.

Cover It

Another way to protect your unit is to put a tight cover over it. This will prevent anything from getting into the condenser and flooding it as well as prevent damage to the coils and fins. You can use something simple like a tarp or invest in a screen protection such as hail guards.  Hail guards are filter screens made from a heavy-duty fiber and can be installed to prevent hail damage. They are designed for high strength and durability. Power surges are also common during storms.

Breakers

Experts strongly advise turning off the breakers at both the thermostat and breaker box to prevent any damage to the HVAC unit. Install a surge protector for your unit in case you are not home to turn off the breakers. Consider using surge protectors all over your home as an added measure of protection. Either option will shut off the equipment if there is a spike in line voltage.

After a storm, look for these things to ensure your unit will be fine. First, go outside and assess if there is any outside damage to the unit like dings or dents. Switch the breakers back on and restart the unit slowly. Listen for any unusual noises in the equipment. If you are unsure or have any questions about your unit after a storm, contact your local HVAC contractor.

Read more
Local HVAC Contractor

How to Choose a Local HVAC Contractor

Local HVAC Contractor

You want to make sure that the local HVAC contractor you hire to take care of your heating and cooling system is well-trained and certified, because systems are very complex and host numerous safety concerns. On top of that, you want your home to be well cared for. Here are things to do and not to do when looking for an HVAC contractor.

Do not take estimates over the phone.

No two air conditioning units are the same, therefore there are too many factors to consider. While some contractors may give you a price range, no reputable contractor would give you a bid over the phone because they must be able to check a list of things. They must be able to see the ducting, how your unit is registering in each room, what kind of insulation you have, and lots of other details including measuring your home for a properly sized unit. Make sure that the contractor surveys your house, crawls into your attic and walks around the house to inspect it. Inexperienced contractors and someone trying to gain business without doing the work will give an estimate without really seeing what is going on.

After your contractor does come to your home and surveys your property, get your estimate in writing. Do not accept a verbal contract. If they are reputable, this should not be a problem. It should include the price as well as all services that need to be done.

Experience and knowledge are vital.

Technology is ever changing and what might have worked ten years ago could be outdated regarding your air conditioning system. Ask if the company is knowledgeable about new technologies, including smart home planning. If they don’t know what the latest updates are you may want to move on. If you are wanting someone a little more seasoned, most states require that contractors have 2-5 years of experience before being hired. Just ask the company what they require before they hire their contractors.

Make sure your contractor is licensed.

It’s easy to see and find out. License numbers are required to be listed on their website and paperwork. Some cities and states provide websites with licensed information. If there is no license, there is no insurance to cover the job if it is not done properly. Do not risk hiring someone who is only claiming to be licensed. They could severely damage gas lines or electrical applications that you, consequently, would be responsible for.

Read more