THE FREON STORY
Air conditioning Freon has a long and somewhat complicated history. Let me tell you the changes that have occurred with Freon that affects you.
This all started 23 years ago with the Montreal protocol and clean air act. It was decided that chlorine in our current Freon is what was affecting the ozone layer. So a reduction in Freon that contain chlorine is what was agreed too. The first Freon that was deleted was R12, this was a Freon that was used pretty much for automotive and refrigeration. Next came R 502 which was a commercial refrigeration Freon. Now we are at R 22 which is primarily used for air-conditioning both residential and commercial. What the industry is doing is a deletion of R22 Freon in all air-conditioners as of this year 2009. The government has mandated that all air-conditioning manufacturers stopped producing air-conditioning that uses R 22 Freon. This stop of production is effective on December 31 of 2009. What this means to you is that there is no more replacement units for your current air-conditioning system. 95% of all residential and commercial air-conditioning currently in existence use R 22 Freon. So again this means there is not going to be a replacement for your current air-conditioner when R 22 equipment is depleted. Many manufacturers stopped producing air-conditioners that used R 22 back earlier in the year of 2009. Only a couple of manufactures have continued to build R 22 equipment up to the December 31 2009 deadline. What this means is there is very little R 22 equipment still left available to air-conditioning dealers. I was in the largest manufacturers in the world warehouse in Garland the other day and they had only 200 pieces of R 22 equipment left. By this summer all R 22 equipment will be depleted.
What this means to you the customer is there is going to be no replacement air-conditioners at all for your current system. You will have to convert to the new environmental friendly Freon. That new Freon is called R 410a or Puron. This is a major change in the air conditioning industry that very few people are aware of. By summer there will be no R 22 equipment available. This means there will be no replacement for your system if it breaks. The two Freon R 22 and R410A are not compatible. The equipment that these Freons are in are also not compatible to each other. If you have a refrigeration failure of any kind on a R 22 system your only option will be to convert to the new R410A Freon system complete. When I say complete I mean you will have to change both your indoor and outdoor sections if you have any kind of major refrigeration failure, such as a coil going bad or loss of a compressor or a bad leak. It will be summer time before most customers will probably become aware of this problem. Which means a lot of people will be upgrading or converting to the new R410A /PURON systems this year. If you have an older R 22 system , units may still be available for a couple of months. You may not have a choice in which brand you would like to use but I believe we’ll be able to find parts for a couple more months. When all R 22 equipment is deleted then your only option will be to convert to the new Freon or rebuild your current unit.
Let’s talk about replacement of R 22 systems for just a minute, here’s the deal. If your indoor unit fails meaning your evaporate coil or electric air handler you will have to replace that section. Since there won’t be anymore R 22 equipment available you will have to replace the outdoor section also. What I’m trying to tell you here is that any part of a R 22 refrigeration system that fails in this up-and-coming year and from here on out will require a conversion to R 410A brand-new system. This is going to be a tremendous sticker shock to all customers in the DFW area, when the air-conditioning man says, well your outdoor units out, but they don’t make that unit anymore, so it’s going to cost you $5500 to get your air-conditioner fixed. See this is what I’m trying to tell you, this is going to be one crazy up and coming new year. As new R410A systems are going to be the only replacements available if you want air-conditioning.
These systems once summertime hits are going to be priced higher than a cat’s back. Hardly anybody knows about these changes. My job is try to make all the customers aware of what’s coming in the industry, so how will I convince or even make known to 6,300,000 people that there is a major change coming to the air-conditioning industry. And that new change is R410A /PURON conversions.
Air-conditioning companies were hit pretty hard this year with the economy and the price wars that went on between dealers. At least 20 companies I know when out of business this year, one owner even hung himself this year. This is the worst year I have seen in the industry in the 45+ years I’ve been in it. Crazy things when on this year such as people calling to get estimates, when you show up and give them an estimate, asked them how it sounded, oh I’m just getting prices I have 10 so far I’m going to get a few more. This was absolutely ridiculous, three or four estimates is all you need in anything you’re going to do. It’s really not about the price,it is about how the alesman is selling the company. For someone to get 15 estimates on an air-conditioned job in my opinion is ridiculous. What you should understand is that any company that has sent someone out to do an estimate is putting $50-$100 in that process. Having a little respect for the fact that somebody has enough experience to give you a good estimate is something you should take into consideration not just the ultimate price. I can remember back not so long ago when I was told well Tommy I ‘am going give you the job, as I called six people and your the only one that showed up. All this is a pendulum that swings both ways what I’m trying to tell you here is the summer is going to be a pendulum for the air-conditioning companies and the price they want to put on conversions. Trust me there will be a lot of people converting to new systems this year. The advantage of the tax breaks, what I consider better energy reducing equipment, and that fear of being without air-conditioning will force people to do conversions as soon as possible.
I hope I made that replacement paragraph clear enough, maybe I’ll just go over it one more time, if your indoor unit fails on a R 22 system and there’s no replacement unit, you will have to change out your indoor unit and your outdoor unit to the only thing that is available which will be a R 410a system. If your outdoor condenser fails and it’s a R 22 unit the only replacements available will be a R410A outdoor unit which means you will have to change your indoor section also. To sum it up any refrigeration failure of a R 22 system will require that you convert to a complete R410A system or rebuild your current unit. You are going to convert anyway at some point in time. The advantage of doing it before this summer are these. One before summer you can get a break on winner pricing for conversions. Number two you can get $1500 back from the federal government on the stimulus plan, if Congress doesn’t use that money somewhere else first. Number three you can get a better job as the AC companies will not be busy until summer. Come summer you may be waiting in line.