The Phase Out of R-22
R-22 Refrigerant has been around for decades and has been used in residential, commercial and restaurant equipment.
As of Jan 1, 2010 the EPA began the phase out of R-22 and the new standard is R-410a.
You CANNOT convert your R-22 unit to use R-410a.
The unit must be replaced as R-410a runs as much higher pressures than R-22.
Jan 1, 2020 will be the end of R-22 production.
The price for R-22 has increased dramatically. $100 per pound has been quite common.
Not to worry though. Now we have R-22 replacements that work very well so there's no need to panic and replace your working R-22 unit because some technician told stories of doom and gloom. The replacements are much more reasonably priced and will be available for years. Converting to a replacement refrigerant is not that big of a deal though some shops will make it a big deal and try to get big money to do it.
If you have a leaking unit, merely 'charging it up' as many have done in the past will be expensive.
Your unit will continue to leak until it is repaired or the unit is replaced if repair is not possible.
'Leak stop' that is sold by some shops does not last if it works at all. Don't be fooled into wasting your money.
Air conditioners hold a varying amount of refrigerant. A typical 'split system', (meaning 2 pieces with an air handler or furnace inside and a condenser outside), will hold from 4-8 lbs for a small system to 15-25lbs for a larger split system. (Small = 2-3 tons Large = 3.5 - 5 tons).
A 'Package Unit' will hold from 5 - 13 lbs in most cases.
1 ton of cooling is 12,000 btu's. (British Thermal Units).
One ton onf cooling will take care of 400 sq ft.
1000 sq ft - 2.5 ton
1200 sq ft - 3 ton
1400 sq ft - 3.5 ton
1600 - 4 ton
2000 - 5 ton.
Most tract homes, (homes built in subdivisions), are undersized as that's what the builders do. It's not uncommon
to find 1800 sq ft houses with 4 tons of air conditioning. The insulation qualities of the home is what makes it
possible to undersize units like this.
The 'industry' says that a perfectly sized unit will run all day during peak temperatures. As we are in Arizona
and have several weeks of peak temperatures we suggest oversizing your equipment by 1/2 a ton to keep the
units from running all day so they still cycle on and off.
A good way for you to check the performance of your unit is to measure the 'split'. Take a thermometer and place it in the filter grill and read the 'return air' temperature. Then move it over to a 'supply register' and read the temperature there. The minimum difference should be 17 - 18 deg F.
Return Air Temp - 80
Supply Air Temp - 63
Split - 17 degrees
During the drier months of the year your split can get up to 20 - 23 degrees.
When the humidity comes up during the monsoon season it will come down to 17 - 18 degrees because the evaporator coil is saturated with water thus reducing the heat transfer.
If you're on the lower end of the scale your unit will run longer. It's important to get up around 18 deg F or so.
Your technician should be able
Remember to change your filters every time you pay your electric bill if not more often.
If you live in the city where it's less dusty than say the desert or you are surrounded by farm fields, use the thinner fiberglass filters and spray furniture polish on each side when replacing them. This lets the unit breath better.
If you have kids or animals coming and going a lot or live in a very dusty area as I do you might consider a heavier filter to stop the light dust but you will have to change them often, 2-3 times a month during the summer is not uncommon.
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