The Truth about Freon

The Truth about Freon

Having the ability to temperature control your home isn’t just a luxury, it’s a necessity. This is especially true for the Fort Worth area. Texas is hot, it can be an unforgiving, arid climate that feels closer to a proper desert than it looks. And you need air conditioning to be able to survive it without sweating through your clothes some days. So what does the government’s environmental push coming up this year mean for your air conditioning unit? Let’s take a look.

The Story On Freon

R-22 refrigerant, or the commonly known Freon substance, is due to be removed from all heat pumps and air conditioning units by 2020. This measure went into effect sometime around the 2000’s and since that past legislation, HVAC companies and technicians have been unsure how to advise their customers. Indeed, the R-22 refrigerant phase out is a good thing for the environment and a necessary thing according to the law. That’s because R-22, an extremely standard coolant in the air conditioning industry, has been found to emit a gas by the name of hydrochlorofluorocarbon. It’s an extremely dangerous greenhouse gas that depletes Earth’s ozone layers and probably isn’t so good for your lungs either. The phaseout will prove to be a huge leap forward in consumer safety on multiple fronts, including their future safety according to climate change and their current safety according to their health and how it’s affected when the body is inhaling harmful chemical compounds from cheap to manufacture refrigerant. 

So What Does This Mean?

In short, it means that the U.S. will no longer be importing freon or manufacturing it. That, however does not mean that the supply of freon will run out rather quickly. Indeed, it simply means that the air conditioning unit you have will eventually become obsolete, either first through the lack of freon on the market, or the expense of new freon as it’s now a hard to acquire good. 

Why We Need Refrigerant

If you don’t know, your air conditioning, essentially, runs on refrigerant, which is why the act of replacing freon seems like such an overhaul of industry standards. That’s because it is. When you toggle your thermostat and attempt to make the temperature a bit more comfortable, you’re triggering your AC to start working. When it begins, it’ll work by using a vapor-compression system where a mixture of chemicals has pressure exerted upon it. This refrigerant often comes in liquid form and is thus pushed into a lower region of pressure where it expands and thus, changes into gas. The substance then absorbs near by heat, is pushed into a different location in your air conditioning unit and the process begins once more. As you can see, since the act of operating your AC actually forces these harmful substances, that might be less harmful in liquid form, into gas where it is harmful. That’s why freon has got to go. But what does that mean for you, a homeowner in Fort Worth Texas where you need air conditioning?

Freon Will Get Pricier

Because it’s no longer being produced in the states, nor is the government accepting freon from other countries, it’s a resource that’s going to get sparse soon. Thus, it’s going to become more and more costly to use as the demand will grow but the supply will diminish. In fact, the production and, therefore, supply of freon is due to drop drastically, because it already has been dropping. In 2010, productions of R-22 dropped by 75% and dropped another 15% in 2015. So it’s been getting more expensive over the past couple of years, however production of the chemical will stop entirely in 2020 and elevate the cost of freon by that much more now that it’s very scarce, indeed. If you do the numbers, the cost to have your air conditioning unit function on R-22 has actually increased by 4 times what it used to be. This renders it a not very financially sound decision to keep using it. 

Other Components Will Increase In Cost Too

If you still have a freon-operated air conditioning unit, you’ve likely already seen a couple of increases in prices and not just in terms of the freon itself. Indeed, because freon is actively being phased out, the production for the main units that use the chemical ceased entirely quite some time ago. Replacement parts are not being made and often times, a small leak repair or other otherwise small inconvenience for a repairman will suddenly become quite an expensive ordeal. That cost is, obviously, reflected onto the consumer. This increase in repair costs and the lack of freon essentially makes units that still require freon coolant to no longer be cost effective. 

No Retro-Fitting Available

The simple answer to your AC problem might just seem like you need a retro-fitting service. However, that can’t be done. The new and approved coolant goes by the name of hydrofluorocarbon and poses no risks to the environment, it’s great stuff, but it also functions as a higher pressure rate than freon does. If you were to use the new coolant in your freon-fed AC unit, the pressure would be too much and the unit would blow apart and break. 

Don’t be Fooled By Alternative Coolants

Because most freon-fed systems were made for freon, they aren’t made to work under other circumstances. Some companies are marketing other coolants that can work in freon AC units, but this is false. These “drop-in” refrigerants will void your manufacturer’s warranty and cause your system to wear out and need a replacement faster. This can only be used as a temporary measure as you decide on a unit that uses the R410 option instead. 

Find a New System With A Trusted Arthur Hagar Technician

The phaseout for these AC units existed over a twenty-year span meant to soften the blow of upgrading to a unit over time. But if you’ve waited until now to consider switching from freon, you’re a bit late to the party. Luckily, all new air conditioning units are made for the R410, or new refrigerant and avoid freon entirely. So, if it’s time to replace your air conditioner because you’re still stuck on freon, reach out to us. Believe us when we say you won’t want to pay extra for repairs on a machine that’s working as a bandaid for a much longer and drawn out problem. Rip that band aid off with the help of our skilled technicians. When you schedule an initial consultation for a new AC unit, we’ll come out and assess your home and your needs on an individual and custom level. This helps us recommend the most affordable upgrade option that makes sure your home unit is up to modern standards, but isn’t gonna break your bank. Reach out to us today to get started on a freon-free journey. 


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