Retrofit or Replace? The Best Time to Think About Your AC Is Now

Service Industry: Pressure gauge in auto repair shop.

It’s the middle of winter, so why are we talking about replacing your Roanoke air conditioning system? Because nearly 20 years after the United States decided to reduce ozone-depleting gas emissions, new laws have gone into effect that are leaving homeowners with difficult decisions to make about their AC systems in the months ahead. 

Wait, What Happened to My Air Conditioning?   

R-22 refrigerant, commonly known as Freon, is the secret sauce that allows many HVAC systems to operate efficiently. It also just got a whole lot harder to find, and that means it’s time to think about converting your HVAC system to use another refrigerant or replace it entirely. Luckily, your Roanoke HVAC experts at Southern Trust did the research, and here’s what we learned.

Why Can’t I Just Pour in A Different Refrigerant? 

Freon does its best work at a low pressure, which is why it’s been so useful in designing refrigeration systems for decades. But that also means it’s hard to replace. Most widespread refrigerants require higher pressures to function properly. Even with the wide variety of refrigerants on the market that can replace R-22 effectively, they often require additional parts and labor to make the system compatible. If your system is more than a decade old, it may cost more to retrofit the unit than buy a new one with modern refrigerants. 

Can I Refill My Existing Air Conditioning System with Freon? 

Since the original restrictions went into effect in 2004, many suppliers of R-22 refrigerant stockpiled their remaining supply and shut down production, shifting to cleaner alternatives. Since then, prices for HVAC refills have steadily risen, and in some cases, even filling a system with new Freon can cost more than the cost to replace it. Now that it’s illegal to import or manufacture, these prices will continue to climb until R-22 becomes too expensive for HVAC companies to carry. While you might be able to wait a year or two with your existing R-22 system, you might still be forced to replace it when it finally breaks down. 

Why Is Replacing My Air Conditioner a Better Option? 

Homeowners have an easy solution: replacing their existing HVAC unit with a more efficient, modern one. If you still have an R-22 system, there’s a good chance you’ve been putting off replacing it for a while. Modern units can help your family save money on energy costs over time, and you might already be spending more to maintain your old system than it would cost to replace.   

When you’re ready to make the switch, Southern Trust offers free custom, comprehensive price quotes for new Roanoke air conditioning systems. We’ll make sure your new unit fits your home like a glove. Just give us a call at 540-343-4348 or schedule a service call with Southern Trust online.  

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