The short answer is — Not as much as they used to.
Air conditioners used to be made with a chemical called R-22 coolant-refrigerant. That’s what helped keep your family comfortable in the summer.
But there was a big problem; The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) determined that the R-22 refrigerant was causing the gradual deterioration of the ozone layer.
In case you don’t remember this from high school science class, the ozone layer makes up part of the upper atmosphere of the earth. Its job is to protect us from the sun’s UV (ultraviolet) rays. Without the ozone layer, the sun would literally fry us by sterilizing the earth’s surface and everything living on it.
So, when the U.S. EPA found out how dangerous the R-22 refrigerant really ways, they decided to gradually phase out the chemical. R-22 is a class of chemicals called hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) and they are very bad news for the environment. So much so that the U.S. EPA is facing these chemicals out by 2020. This means air conditioning manufacturers are no longer using HCFC chemicals as refrigerants.
This is all really good news for the environment. But what does it mean for a homeowner?
· If your existing air conditioning unit begins leaking, we can potentially add refrigerant, even if you have an old unit that uses R-22. However, after 2020, R-22 will no longer even be made.
· We may also be able to replace the R-22 with an alternative refrigerant, depending on the make and model of your air conditioning unit.
· If your older a/c unit doesn’t break down, you can continue to use it, no matter what type of refrigerant it’s using.
· It’s likely that the price of R-22 refrigerant will continue to increase, as we get closer to the 2020 deadline.
· If you’re replacing your unit, chances are it won’t use R-22 coolant, but you should always ask your Las Vegas air conditioning repair person to be sure. Air conditioners and heat pumps made after 2010 may still use R-22.
The environmental impact of the new air conditioning units are very small; they are Energy Star rated with a clean environmental record that you can be proud of.
What’s the #1 Thing You Can Do to Improve A/C Efficiency?
One of the most cost effective ways you can improve your Las Vegas air conditioning unit’s efficiency is to have it tuned up in the spring. If you haven’t called Ambient Edge yet, now is the time.
If your air conditioner or heat pump is old and worn out, it might also be time to consider a replacement – before the Las Vegas heat makes it an imperative. Making the choice to replace your a/c unit will be good for your electric bill – and the environment.
Contact Ambient Edge at 928-263-8698 (AZ) or 702-723-4704 (NV) to find out how we can help you lower your greenhouse emissions and keep your family comfortable this summer by repairing, maintaining, or replacing your Las Vegas air conditioner.