by DAN JAPE of RELIABLE HEATING & AIR originally published June 2008.
Freon or Puron? That is the question. Whether is nobler to protect the ozone layer or your pocketbook. Now is the time to consider that change has arrived. As many people are aware, Freon or R-22 is on the way , outlawed by government mandate to be discontinued in home air conditioners by the end of 2009. Starting January 1, 2010, all cooling units produced and sold will no longer be able to use R-22 Freon, the old refrigerant long favored in air conditioning. Starting January, 1 2015, there is a ban on sale and use of all R-22 except for certain uses and by that time the EPA predicts a 90% phase out of R-22. And then on January 1, 2020, all Freon R-22 will be gone except for old, recycled stockpiles of used refrigerant.
This time deadline has seemed like it is far away, but it is now right around the corner and if you buy a new Freon based air conditioner today, you may be in for a surprise tomorrow. Freon is going to shoot up in price, quickly and by the time your new air conditioner is in need of service, it will be more expensive that purchasing a new unit that runs on R410a or Puron, as the new alternative refrigerant is called.
The good news here is that R410a is a far better refrigerant than Freon R-22 ever was. It cools better, dehumidifies better, and is more efficient than R-22. R410a provides a much colder air coming out of your vents, dropping the temperature of the air 25 to 28 degrees each time it passes over your cooling coil. You will also find it does a much better job of removing the humidity in the air, which is half the battle in Metro Atlanta. There are many wonderful things about this new refrigerant, but the most important thing is that this is the only alternative on the market for cooling your home.
Many air conditioning companies have refused to invest in the new equipment needed to service and install this new refrigerant, instead telling the customer nothing about it, or misleading them about the truth on the subject. Just yesterday, I had a potential customer tell me that out of five companies he had bid his new system, two told him nothing about this upcoming phase-out and two told him it was “no big deal” and Freon R-22 would be around for many years and plentiful. The truth is, many of the lower priced air conditioner manufactures have built a lot of R-22 units, thinking the lower price would sell these outdated units and now they have to dump them on an unsuspecting consumer.
The truth about this phase out is just a Google away and no one should ignore it, regardless of what any dealer tells you. The government decided long ago to use a long, gradual phase out of Freon as the smartest way to deal with this issue. Do not wait until the very end to look into it. R410a is only slightly more expensive today and if your heating and air conditioning company does not mention it, or offer it, look elsewhere quickly and do not be mislead. The time is here now to make the change, and in the future, you will very glad you did.