Advice From the Pros

Commercial HVAC Services

R-22 Refrigerant: What You Need To Know

r-22 freon

Photo courtesy of Daniel Kennectz

What’s the problem?

The problem with R-22 is that is contains CFCs that deplete the ozone layer when released into the air.
R410a refrigerant has become the industry standard and is more environmentally friendly than R-22.

Montreal Protocol and the R-22 Phaseout Schedule

The Montreal Protocol mandates an annual reduction of R-22 production and a complete phase out by 2020 to help protect the ozone layer

In October 2014, the EPA announced its final phase-down schedule of HCFC-22 (R-22) over the next 6 years. The decision called for immediate drop from 51 million pounds allowed in 2014 to 22 million pounds in 2015, 18 million pounds in 2016, 13 million pounds in 2017, 9 million pounds in 2018, and 4 million pounds in 2019.

No new or imported R-22 will be allowed in the U.S. on or after Jan. 1, 2020.

You can still buy it, right?

Steady demand, coupled with shortened supply has caused prices to skyrocket from $15 per pound a few years ago, to $75 per pound and more today – annual allowances have decreased faster than the market demand for R-22, which has depleted inventory across the supply chain. Service demands for R-22 in the U.S. are still estimated to be in the tens of millions of pounds per year, and many R-22 users will need to transition to an ozone-safe alternative. By 2020, the market prices for what supply is left will cause prices to be painful.

Staying ahead of the phaseout is our solution to our customers to avoid the volatility of the pricing of R-22 for your servicing needs.

How do I know if I have R-22 refrigerant?

– The best way is to check the data information plate on your outdoor unit
– If your AC was installed before 2005, it most likely has R-22 Refrigerant
– If you still can’t tell, call us out for unit checkup and we can verify it for you

Who needs to be concerned?

Everyone with an R-22 system? No

However, people who have a slow refrigerant leak needing 1-2lbs per year would want to get ahead of this issue. A refrigerant leak is like a leak in your tire. It gradually gets larger with time and at some point you will have to get a repair. Start planning to replace you AC system now to avoid these cost concerns in the next few years.
How about people needing more than 2lbs annually? You need to get ahead of this to avoid volatile prices and we suggest scheduling a meeting with us to discuss your options.

Read more

Capacitors – What They Are and Why They Fail

capacitors

ca·pac·i·tor (kəˈpasədər) noun

a device used to store an electric charge, consisting of one or more pairs of conductors separated by an insulator.

That is what the dictionary definition will get you. It sounds like a battery, and in a sense, it is. It stores a charge and can discharge that charge very quickly – and it is used to error correct within an electrical system among other things.

Knowing what it is and what they do gives us a better idea of why they fail. There are also several different kinds of capacitors which all have their own uses in a system and are constructed differently.

Like a battery, eventually the components that make it up can be used up. It has a limited number of starts, and frequently turning on or off those use up the life of the capacitor faster.

Capacitors can fail due to a number of reasons and when they fail it can lead to short-circuit, damage to the circuit and sometimes even explosion.

What are some of the reasons for failure of capacitors? Inconsistent main voltage feed to the home is one. The voltage coming into the system is above or below rated its rated capacity. Power outages or surges and excessive heat are also common concerns. Aging can also cause capacitor failure.

Electrolytic capacitors fail due to leakage or vaporization of the electrolyte inside. This can be caused due to heating in operation. Heating can be caused by mechanical failure or voltages outside the design range of the component. In electrolytic capacitors heating can cause the formation of gas inside which can explode through the vent provided.

Voltage surges can also cause capacitor failure. Overtime, capacitors re-form themselves to a particular voltage. When an unexpected surge occurs, a failure can take place.

Read more
new air conditioner

5 Warning Signs That It’s Time For A New Air Conditioner

5 Warning Signs That It's Time For A New Air Conditioner

Photo courtesy of Jason Rufus/Flickr

Buying a new air conditioner is a big expense, we know, but, if you hold out until your unit goes “kaput”, then you may be wearing your wallet out unnecessarily premature. Here in Texas, during our hot Summers, our AC units work extra hard keeping our homes and businesses cool. If you’re wondering what warning signs there are that it’s time to replace your AC unit, here are a few signs to watch out for.

Higher than normal electricity bills

One of the first signs you’ll notice of a failing AC unit is that your electric bills have jumped. Taking into account the time of year (Summer is always higher), and your past payment history, if you’ve noticed that your bill has gone up, then your AC unit is working harder than it should.

Unit never shuts off / not keeping up in the heat of the day

A highly efficient AC unit runs for a time, then shuts off when it reaches your set temperature. This results in your AC unit shutting down and starting up numerous times during the day. If your AC unit never shuts off and can’t keep up during the heat of the day, then it is consuming more energy than it should to keep your house cool.

Unit needs multiple repairs outside of warranty period 

Once a unit has outlived its normal lifespan, it will start to require repairs to keep it running. These repairs will eat into your budget over time and once you hit a certain threshold, then you’ve spent more money keeping the old one running instead of purchasing a newer, more efficient system that will save you money in the long run.

Age of system

Most AC units are designed to last 15 years. Well-maintained systems can push it to 20 years. If you go over either of those time-frames, you are running the risk of coming home one day after work to a house that has no air conditioning and will need to wait a few days or weeks before a new one can get installed.

System uses R-22 refrigerant (being phased out in 2020, prices are skyrocketing) and it needs a major repair

If your AC system is still using R-22 refrigerant, then you will need new equipment, as it will be phased out by 2020. With the upcoming cut-off date of manufacture, the prices of R-22 refrigerant has skyrocketed and soon, it will be less expensive to change out your AC unit to a newer model than to keep your old one running.

If you have any questions regarding any of these warning signs or you’re ready to install a new air conditioner, don’t hesitate to give us a call!

Read more