Know the facts before replacing your AC system

Learning a few facts about a refrigerant commonly used in air conditioners could help you keep your cool.

The refrigerant, R-22, is being phased out as part of an international environmental agreement to discontinue the use of HCFCs, or hydrochlorofluorocarbons.

How does this affect your home’s air-conditioning equipment? While it may not impact your air-conditioning system in the next decade, it is important to understand the facts if you are told your system must be replaced, according to a news release.

If you own an R-22-based air-conditioning unit, here are a few facts:

• If your system does not leak or need repair, it may not necessarily have a negative impact on the environment. There is no need to replace your system until you are ready for a new unit.

• Most air-conditioning systems are designed to last at least 10 years. Because R-22 is available until 2020, it is wise to budget accordingly.

• R-22 is still one of the most energy-efficient refrigerants on the market. Purchasing a new unit costs three to four times more than repairing existing units and may not be mandatory, the release stated.

Reputable heating and cooling dealers should disclose this information. Plan ahead before you pay for a costly replacement.