Month: October 2018

How Will The R-22 (Freon) Phase Out Affect Your HVAC System?

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Person checks HVAC system with meter gauges

Let’s start at the beginning. In 2003, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) mandated the phase out of R-22, commonly known as Freon, as the result of growing environmental concerns. In accordance with The Clean Air Act, the phase out of R-22, a refrigerant used in residential and commercial HVAC systems, was enacted to protect the Earth from the ozone-depleting compound found in the refrigerant.

In 2010, production of new air conditioning units charged with R-22 ended, and by 2020 the servicing of R-22 based systems will solely rely on recycled, reclaimed or stockpiled refrigerant quantities. Though chemical manufactures will no longer be allowed to produce or import R-22 for use in new equipment, they can continue production and imports until 2020 for use in servicing existing equipment.

If your system was manufactured before 2010, it probably uses R-22. The good news is that the production, not use, of R-22 is being phased out. This means that you are not required to stop using R-22 air conditioners nor replace your existing equipment. Your unit using R-22 can still be serviced. But, in the future, R-22 supplies will be more limited and costs associated with servicing equipment using this refrigerant will rise steadily and dramatically.

Advance Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning in Greenville, NC urges customers to take necessary steps to protect themselves against the rising cost of this refrigerant. The best thing you can do is to properly maintain your unit to prevent leaks by having routine tune-ups and maintenance checks. Remember, routine maintenance is far less expensive than emergency repairs. The rising cost of R-22 is why, in the majority of cases, our technicians will recommend replacing an old unit if your system is requiring you to constantly add R-22. In addition to omitting costly repairs, new systems are much more energy efficient and will help you money on utilities.

While some local HVAC companies will continuously repair systems containing R-22, at Advance Mechanical we value our customers and will highly recommend a new system. While this may cost more at the time, it is an investment in your home and will ultimately save you from continuing costly repairs and even save you money on your monthly utility bills.

The EPA established a lengthy phase-out timeline to allow home and business owners to replace air conditioning equipment that contains R-22 on a normal cycle, for example as it becomes old, inefficient or breaks down.

The most common alternative to R-22 is R-410A, a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant blend. This refrigerant blend is manufactured and sold under various trademarked names, including GENTRON AZ-20, SUVA, 410A, and PURON. The EPA reviews alternative refrigerants and maintains a list of acceptable substances for household and light commercial air conditioning.

To review, if your HVAC equipment was produced prior to January 2010, you have the following options:

  1. Invest in a new, more environmentally-friendly and energy-saving HVAC system that uses R-410A.
  2. Continue to use R-22 at a higher cost, until it is ultimately time to replace your unit.

Now that you know a little more about the R-22 phase out, let the professionals at Advance Mechanical help you maintain your HVAC system and make the right choice regarding the best time to replace your system. For more information, to schedule a tune-up or request a replacement quote, please contact us today!

Get To Know: Heat Pumps

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AC units

Last month we celebrated the first day of fall, and this month, it is beginning to feel like it. Here in eastern North Carolina, we usually experience mild falls and winters, and only occasionally are we forced to deal with troublesome snow and ice. Of course, we often make up for it with hot summers, but that’s a post for another day.

For climates with moderate heating and cooling needs, a heat pump can offer an energy-efficient alternative to a furnace and air conditioner. This common piece of HVAC equipment does a great job providing heat to homes in climates where the temperature generally stays above 40°F. Additionally, this system is great for spaces without ducts.

So, how does a heat pump work? To heat a home, a heat pump operates in the same manner as an air conditioner, but in reverse. Heat pumps use electricity to move heat from a cool space to a warm space, making the cool space cooler and the warm space warmer. In other words, when your home needs to be cooled, a heat pump will remove the heat and humidity and transfer it outdoors. The opposite is true when your home needs to heated.

Because heat pumps move heat, rather than generate heat, they cost less – as little as one quarter the cost of operating conventional heating and cooling appliances. Heat pumps are also more efficient because they use renewable energy in the form of low-temperature heat.

If you currently have a heat pump in your home, here are a few tips from the experts at Advance Mechanical Heating & Air Conditioning:

  • Set your thermostat at one temperature. Constant adjustments can cause higher utility bills, especially in the winter.
  • If your unit gets covered with snow or ice, remove the snow or ice immediately in order to ensure the unit operates properly.
  • Make sure that your outdoor unit does not sit underneath a leaking gutter. In the freezing weather, this water can form ice on the top of your unit.
  • Check air filters monthly and replace as needed.
  • Contact Advance Mechanical for regular maintenance check-ups.

If you have any questions about heat pumps, contact the pros at Advance Mechanical. We provide high quality heat pump repair, replacement and installation to Pitt and Beaufort counties. Give us a call today!