R-410a Home Cooling Will Save You Money, Or Maybe Not
Residential heating and air customers are bombarded by advertising that claims energy efficiency and earth friendliness. This, combined with the mandated phaseout of certain refrigerants, has left consumers very confused. Many people have to rely on advice from HVAC sales types that are paid to sell, not educate.
First and foremost, no one ever saves money by buying something that they don’t need. If a homeowner’s older generation equipment runs well and is reasonably efficient there is no powerful reason to upgrade. Salespeople claim that R-22 refrigerant will no longer be produced. The broader truth is that R-22 will be obtainable until at the minimum 2020 and probably much longer due to reclamation and reuse. And, yes, substitute parts will be obtainable in addition. After a botched interpretation of the rules in 2010, the EPA has empowered the production of R-22 based condensing units for the foreseeable future.
Secondly, R-410a equipment is not inherently more energy efficient than older R-22 elements. The SEER, a measure of energy efficiency, can be equal or already higher on R-22 based units. So newer technology does not automatically translate into energy savings. This fact is conveniently overlooked, sometimes, in the excitement of planning the new installation. A review of the current equipment and its performance while it is running can clear up any doubts in this area.
A third consideration is that many homeowners can enhance cooling efficiency without any equipment related changes. Examples of steps that can be taken by homeowners include rinsing the dirt from condenser fins (outside unit), changing or cleaning filters ordinarily and setting the thermostat back when not at home. Licensed providers can be used to continue the refrigerant charge and examine HVAC equipment for proper operation each season. Sometimes the professionals can identify airflow issues that will enhance efficiency with a few modest ductwork modifications.
So where does this leave the residential A/C customers that want to save money? The short answer is that it gives them many options. If the HVAC system needs work; they can repair the current equipment, replace chosen elements or upgrade to a system employing R-410a. If energy consumption or comfort are the only issues, then a money saving solution may be found employing the new or older technology. (R-410a v. R-22) There is no clear and overriding advantage to either route. This method that the answer may be tailored to individual customer needs.
Contractors, and specifically those in the HVAC field, bear the burden of being apologists for a few bad apples. The great majority of HVAC professionals are honest and knowledgeable. They can, and will, help customers continue their homes in a comfortable and energy efficient manner. The point to remember is that whether or not to upgrade to R-410a is a consequence of that course of action, not the reason for beginning it. use a little money for the time and effort of a specialized and save a lot in the long run. Who really thinks that free estimates are free anyway?
Remember… Cool… Simple… Cheap