For a few years now, we’ve been anticipating R22 being phased out. Now here we are in 2020 and that time has come. Along with the absence of R22, certain components and parts are nearly impossible to get. Other parts that we can still get have increased substantially in price. This fact alone would make AC repair a whole lot less likely on a system that is using R22 still.
Many HVAC contractors are bracing up for a busy year of installation instead of repair. You can barely turn on the radio or open a newspaper without hearing or seeing an ad for somebody trying to sell you a new air conditioner because your old R22 system cannot be repaired. It’s almost comical.
All AC systems can be repaired
The fact is that all air conditioners can still be repaired. We can still get the necessary parts to fix almost any air conditioner of any kind. Even those components such as compressors reversing valves and thermostatic expansion valves that are specifically designed for R22 systems can be replaced with an adaptive substitution. The problem is, when a system looses its refrigerant. R22 substitution options are very limited in their ability. Additionally It could cost you nearly half the price of a new system for repairs involving refrigerant leaks.
Here in Las Vegas, we only have a handful of options available to us for AC repairs that will involve recharging with refrigerant. And not all of them will meet each application as needed. Unlike R22, There is no singular replacement for all applications. The boiling point and critical temperature of substitute refrigerants is not as close as it would need to be to R22.
407c is going to need a different compressor. More specifically it is not designed to have the same operating pressure as R22. Though we have, in the past, used 407c when changing out a compressor it does not work the same. Most customers won’t even know the difference until the temperature hits 101 degrees. The process of balancing the super-heat and sub-cool changes dynamically at that temperature. Unfortunately, it is not an efficient refrigerant but does work in a pinch. Due to its price and easy availability, it is the refrigerant of choice for many Las Vegas contractors when doing an AC repair involving a compressor or some other closed refrigerant system change.
R438a is a substitute refrigerant that we commonly use here at Fast Affordable Air for air conditioning repairs as well as tune-ups. This refrigerant is uniquely designed to work with mineral oil as well as polyester oil. It is one of the few that does. Though not nearly as good as the R22 predecessor, it does the best job out of all of them in keeping up with the Las Vegas Heat. Whenever we’ve had to do an AC repair involving a refrigerant system it is typical for us to use r438a.
Should I Repair my AC
I think there are several R22 systems that are worthy of a repair. The age of your system should not be the single factor used in deciding whether to repair or replace. There are many components on your HVAC system That do not directly involve refrigerant of any kind. Those repairs may be quite affordable. I’m sure most people are under no delusion that there AC will last forever. One day it will need to be replaced. That doesn’t necessarily mean it’s today. It seems to me Replacing a working system just because it uses R22 is not sensible. On the other side, if You are facing a repair of more than five or six hundred dollars It would be financially prudent to replace.
If you are stuck on the fence and want to know what to expect out of you AC in the season to come, there are a few tests that we can do. It is not a fortune teller trick but it tends to be accurate in predicting how long each major component of you AC will last.