If you have an older HVAC equipment there are regulatory changes in the works that you must plan for now or face expensive consequences. R22 refrigerant (also known as FREON) will become illegal to manufacture or import in the US effective 1/1/2020.
In the meantime, the supply will dwindle, and prices will rise drastically. How will the R22 refrigerant phase-out impact your AC equipment and the cost to maintain it? If your system needs repairs, it will cost increasingly more in the short term and it will become impossible to fix at any price as we move past the 2020 deadline.
As a homeowner or business owner who may not be an expert, how do you decide on a plan of action? Is now the time to replace your older equipment with a modern system that use new refrigerants? Is converting older systems to use new refrigerant a viable option? Or can you hold out with what you’ve got until the R22 refrigerant phase-out is complete?
Continue reading for helpful information and advice from the experts.
The dangers of older refrigerants have been known for decades. The industry standard refrigerant used in air conditioning equipment for many years was R22 (also known as FREON), a hydrochlorofluorocarbon gas, or HCFC. Back in the 70s it was discovered the HCFC gases were quickly depleting the earths ozone layer, and an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol called for a worldwide phase-out of these types of refrigerants.
Since then, the US Environmental Protection agency (EPA) has been regulating the availability and use of R22, gradually decreasing the quantities the quantities that can be manufactures or imported. As of 1/1/2020 the R22 phase out will be complete, and R22 will become unavailable.
2016 saw prices hike over 50%. In 2017 quantities started to decrease further and prices continued to rise drastically as a result. As the end of R22 refrigerant continues, shortages will increase and it’s likely that prices will skyrocket.
Owners of older AC systems using R22 have a decision to make. It’s smart to plan your strategy now rather than waiting for breakdowns, new equipment shortages or manpower backlogs due to the replacement demand.
If your equipment is in good shape, this option may be viable for as long as 2 years. However, there are risks you must be aware of.
The Upside: Cost! This is probably the least expensive option in the short term. If your system is under 8 years old, free of refrigerant leaks, properly maintained and operating well, its possible that it could last for years without needing more refrigerant. Take note of the “probably” in the previous statement refrigerant leaks can happen at any time, especially to an older system or a system that may have corrosion on the coils. If a leak occurs, you’ll need to consider one of the other two options at that time. Our recommendation if you chose this option is to please call Matz-Rightway Heating and Air Conditioning at 631-728-0661 to schedule a regular annual inspection or speak to one of our comfort associates in regards to a yearly preventive maintenance agreement or coil cleaning.
The Downside: Increasingly expensive repairs. R22 will continue to increase in price as inventory level dwindle driving up the cost of repairs. If your system does need any repair that involves replacing refrigerant (many repairs do), that repair will become more and more expensive, because R22 will become more expensive and harder to obtain.
Facing long waits for an emergency replacement. Come January 2020, when R22 will not be available at, you’ll be in line with everyone else on an emergency basis who has to replace the equipment or modify the existing equipment to accept alternative refrigerants. If your system fails, you could be forced to operate without AC for an extended period of time, or worse, be forced to close your home or business while you wait.
Costly repairs might not make sense for an older system. Even if your system does remain leak-free, there always the chance you’ll need other expensive repairs that don’t involve adding refrigerant. In that event, we would discourage pouring money into a system that you must replace in just a few years’ time (in the best case), especially when you consider the added efficiency you gain with a new system.
Risk of hazardous replacement refrigerants. The EPA has already issued warnings about contaminated or counterfeit R22 refrigerants being sold by unscrupulous vendors. These can be hazardous, possibly causing fires or explosions. As the price of R22 goes up, that risk will increase. Never buy refrigerants from a trusted HVAC contractor who is licensed to perform this work.
Since the R22 phase out has been known for some time, some supplies have been developing new refrigerants to be compatible with older system. While they are not an option for all equipment and in all situations. In some cases you may be able to convert your older system to use one of these new refrigerants (this process is called retrofitting). However, there can be significant risks to doing so. Here are the pros and cons to consider.
The Upside: Delaying the expense of replacement. Especially for equipment that is still in good condition, you may be able to delay replacing it (and laying out the cost of buying new equipment) by retrofitting it to use a new refrigerant. This option can give you time to plan for the expense of replacing the entire system. Less expensive repairs. Once converted to use the new refrigerant, any repairs that require refrigerant replacement will not be as expensive, since the new refrigerants are less costly, at least in the short term. However, keep in mind that the cost of replacement refrigerants may also rise over the next few years. Short-term solution. Retrofitting might be a viable option if you’re moving to a new location within a few years, since it may not make sense to invest in a new system that you wont use very long.
The Downside: Technical limitations may prohibit retrofitting. Retrofitting is not possible for every system. You’ll need to consult with an HVAC expert and have a thorough inspection to determine if your system cab be converted to use another refrigerant. Comfort may be compromised. When a retrofit can be done, it can often reduce the cooling capacity of the system. That means, if your system already under-performing (not cooling well, not removing enough humidity, or cooling inconsistently) than this is not a smart option for you. You’ll end up with poor comfort conditions. Higher energy costs. The loss in capacity will result in longer run times for your equipment increasing your energy needs and driving up your electric bills. Retrofitting is not as a complete replacement, but there can be a significant cost. If the equipment is older, you might be spending money on a system that wont last much longer anyway. Voiding your warranty. If your system is currently covered under the manufactures warranty, you can run the risk of voiding that warranty by changing that refrigerant. Most if not all manufactures are not supporting the use of new refrigerants in equipment designed for R22 applications.
In a matter of a few years, the reality is that all your r22 based equipment will have to be replaced. But is it necessary to do it now?
The Upside: Replacing your equipment that uses R22 in the coming year is a smart move for a number of reasons. Eliminating the risk of an expensive emergency repair. In the next couple of years, if your old system breaks and you need replacement R22 to repair it, that repair will be much more expensive than what you’re paying now for the same work. You won’t be without air conditioning. If you must replace your system on an emergency basis, you could be waiting some time without air conditioning for a new system to be ordered and installed. How will that impact your family, home or business? If you replace proactively, you can replace on your schedule. You can plan for the expense, and you wont risk suffering through a heat wave with no A/C. New replacement systems are more energy efficient and less expensive to operate. Especially if you have and air conditioner that’s more than 10-year-old, the cash you save each month can be substantial and can add up very quickly. To figure out how much you could save with a new, energy efficient system please contact your HVAC expert. It’s the environmentally responsible thing to do. Discontinuing the use of harmful HCFC chemicals is not only beneficial to drive our efforts to preserve our planet for future generations.
The Downside:The expense. The big downside, of course, is the upfront cost of replacing your system now. It can be difficult to make that decision when your system seems to be working fine, even if it is aging.
Matz-Rightway has positioned itself to have the correct phase out strategy to meet your needs. You need to know that we are on top of the situation, and our technicians, salespeople and office staff are fully trained in what to do if your older A/C unit needs repair. Please feel free to reach out to us any time to discuss the impending R22 phase out and how it will affect you.
Matz-Rightway experts can help by evaluating the condition of your equipment, and helping you develop a replacement plan that will work with you and your budget.
Carbon Monoxide (CO) is the #1 cause of poisonings in the U.S. Yet less than 5% of all CO poisonings are reported! The safe and efficient operation of your heating equipment and other combustion appliances cannot be determined without testing using a calibrated combustion analyzer. Because the technology, instruments, and training to do this testing correctly has only been available for a few years, odds are it’s never been done. Your service technician should be certified to properly test and diagnose potential CO exposure.
Carbon monoxide, even in small quantities, can cause serious health problems, particularly in children and the elderly. Millions of unsuspecting homeowners are exposed to low levels of CO and don’t even know it. Unfortunately U.L.-Listed CO alarms don’t go off until your family has been exposed to 70 ppm (parts per million) for over 3-1/2 hours! Most international limits for unsafe levels, including OSHA and the World Health Organization’s guidelines, are between at 15-35 ppm. Carbon monoxide can come from additional sources in your home besides the heating equipment, and those sources should also be checked. They include your Water Heater, Gas Range, Gas Logs, Space Heater, and Boiler — even an attached garage.
Anytime equipment is installed, it’s being exposed to conditions in which it hasn’t been tested to perform. Venting systems, combustion air, duct systems, additional appliances in the building, building pressure etc., can all affect its operation. Besides that, after leaving the factory, it’s likely your equipment has been loaded and unloaded on trucks and transported several times. Vibration and shock can cause components to shift and move. The only way to truly know if your new equipment is operating safely and efficiently is to test it once it’s been installed.
They measure. If CO testing is part of the HVAC professional’s normal protocols, he or she will advise you of this prior to servicing or installing equipment. Odds are when the tech walks into you house he’ll be carrying some type of CO monitor to immediately check if unsafe CO levels are present. When working on the equipment, the tech will likely drill a hole in the flue of the appliance, and insert the probe of an electronic combustion analyzer to check actual burner performance. Additional performance testing might require holes to be drilled into the ductwork as well. Once finished testing, he or she should provide documentation and review the results with you.
As a consumer you should expect your HVAC professional to be trained in current technology that makes sure you’re heating system is safe, comfortable, and efficient. These are probably things you may expect are mandatory, but unfortunately they’re not. .
The HVAC professional should be trained to measure the safety and efficiency of all your combustion equipment, even appliances that he or she doesn’t normally sell or service. Thorough testing can also verify that your equipment is operating at peak efficiency and provide the lowest operating costs. Finally, he or she should provide you with documentation that explains what has been found and what corrections have been or need to be performed. He or she should also provide you with material to better educate you about carbon monoxide sources and health effects.
Fall is here and it is time to get your furnace ready for the upcoming winter season. Performing your pre-season maintenance can save you money and the hassle of mid-winter repairs.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
Schedule your $69 Furnace Tuneup today and protect against breakdowns all winter long! We service all makes and models of oil, gas, and electric furnaces and never charge extra for nights, weekends or holidays. Schedule today and avoid the rush!
Surviving a frigid winter means running the furnace day and night to keep your home comfortable. Many of us can’t even imagine going one day without heating when the temperatures hover below 30 degrees for most of the season. No one likes to pay the outrageous gas bill, but it is a sacrifice that many of us to make in order to stay warm all winter long. But what if you didn’t have to make that sacrifice?
It is possible to reduce your energy bills by pairing your current gas power furnace with an electricity powered heat pump. A heat pump is a two in one unit. It uses electricity to move heat to effectively provide heating and cooling. An air source heat pump works by pulling the hot air inside the home to the outdoors in the summer. By removing the heat from inside the home, the temperature is lowered. In the winter, the heat pump pulls hot air from the air outside and pumps it indoors. This type of unit is extremely energy efficient and will cost less to run than if you were to use the gas furnace.
Extremely cold temperatures do not allow homeowners to only run heat pumps in their home. It is better to have your gas furnace paired with the heat pump. On the days when the air outside is bitter cold, the heat pump is not able to pull enough heat out of the air to generate enough heat to get the temperature at a comfortable level. On the days when this happens, you can use the gas furnace as the primary heat source.
By having both units in your home, you will be able to take a huge load off of your furnace. Using the furnace less frequently will lower your gas bill, and having both units gives you the flexibility to choose which unit will cost you less to run. During times when electricity costs more you can opt to use the gas furnace and vice versa. You may even extend the life of your furnace because you are putting less of a strain on the unit by using it less frequently.
Also, pairing the heat pump with a new high efficiency furnace will increase your energy savings even more! There are new high efficiency gas furnaces on the market nowadays that are over 95% efficient with the gas that they consume. If you haven’t replaced your unit in over 15 to 20 years, the system in your home is probably horribly inefficient when compared to the newer models. It may seem like a bit of an investment right now, but within a couple years, your new systems will have paid for themselves in energy savings.
Pairing your gas furnace with an electric heat pump is a great way to save money on your energy bills. By sharing the load, the two units will work together to keep your home at a comfortable temperature all winter long.
Contact us today for a free estimate on a new gas furnace or electric heat pump!
The average furnace lifespan can vary between 15-20 years. If you have an old inefficient unit and been holding off on replacement, it may be costing you more money in the long run. Today we’ll take a look at 7 of the most common reasons to replace your furnace.
Our full line of Lennox furnaces are designed to deliver reliable and economical warmth and have efficiency ratings from 80% all the way up to 98% AFUE. Contact us today for a free estimate on a new furnace and be on your way to a warm and comfortable winter.
These days, it seems like everyone is talking about energy efficiency. Light bulbs, washers, dryers, and HVAC systems are often at the center of the discussion. Everyone is looking to save money and do their part to be eco-friendly as well. This winter, you may even be looking to swap out that old furnace for a new high efficiency model. Our SLP98V Furnace is the most efficient and the quietest furnace you will find of the market today.
The SLP98V has several features that enable it to boast such high efficiency and quiet operation. For starters, this furnace has an AFUE rating of 98.2%! That means that almost 100% of the gas used to run this furnace is used to generate heat. Older models have much lower ratings. If your current furnace was purchased before 1992 then there is a good chance that it is less than 75% efficient. That means that you are currently throwing away hundreds of dollars a year when you could be saving up to $800 a year with the Lennox SLP98V.
This furnace is able to achieve such a high rating because of its variable speed blower motor and its SureLight igniter. The variable speed blower motor is self-calibrating. This means that it is able to automatically adjust to meet your needs. For example, if the temperature outside is more mild, the motor will adjust to a lower setting to conserve energy while still allowing the heating needs to be met in the home. This type of blower also allows for quiet operation because it is not always running on high. The igniter is a type of electronic ignition that only lights when the furnace calls for heat. Older models use a standing pilot that requires a constant stream of gas to stay lit 24/7. By only lighting when you need heat, this pilot is a major contributor to the energy efficiency of this furnace.
Many homes put up with a noisy furnace because they think that that is there only option. However, it doesn’t have to sound like there is a helicopter landing in your basement every time the furnace kicks on. With the SLP98V you also get extremely quiet operation. Lennox has engineered new technology that makes their furnaces 50% quieter than your average unit. With the help of the variable speed blower motor and a fully insulated cabinet, furnace like the SLP98V achieve virtually silent operation even at higher speeds.
How does this technology affect me?
Besides saving you loads of money every year on your energy bills, the technology in the Lennox SLP98V furnace is used to increase your personal home comfort. Quiet operation allows you to enjoy near silence throughout your home. The variable speed blower also uses Precise Comfort Technology. This technology helps your furnace have more than just a high and low setting. It adjusts the fan speed in increments as small at 1%. What this means to you is that when you set the thermostat at a certain temperature, the furnace will automatically adjust to meet that temperature by changing heat and airflow capacity. That translates into precise temperatures and comfort in your home all winter long.
We offer a variety of high-efficiency furnaces to choose from and offer free in-home estimates from our factory trained and licensed comfort specialists. Contact us today to be on your way to saving money on your energy bills!
Furnaces are very safe machines, but under the right circumstances and with the right malfunctions, they can be dangerous machines. That should be no surprise. They ignite combustible gasses to create heat and fire to warm your homes. If this sophisticated system is damaged, or otherwise faulty, the consequences can be more extreme than a chilly evening.
Primarily, the largest danger and most serious malfunction is a crack in the heat exchanger. The heat exchanger is a metal shield in the furnace that is directly warmed by the combusting gasses and fire in the burner of the furnace. The purpose of the part is to allow only the heat to transfer to the air in your vents while keeping any exhaust and fumes out of your indoor air. A crack in this heat exchanger allows such dangerous gasses as carbon monoxide to leak through into your ductwork.
A heat exchanger should last 15-20 years, but, there are a few factors that could lead to a premature crack!
While most heat exchangers will last throughout the entire lifespan of the furnace without problem, the consequences of an undiscovered crack are seriousness enough to remain vigilant. The best way to monitor your furnace and identify a problem in your heat exchanger is through annual maintenance. Schedule your Tuneup, and let our technicians inspect every aspect of your furnace.
Schedule your $69 Furnace Tuneup Today!
In the past, many homeowners would close off vents in various rooms of the home in order to direct all of the heat to one area and to save money. Nowadays, many people are still doing this, but does this practice still save money? If you use a forced air furnace in your home, you may be making some very serious mistakes when it comes to the supply and return registers that your furnace uses.
There are several factors that need to be taken into account before you ever close off a room. If you don’t consult a professional first, you could end up wasting more money on your energy bills and cause major damage to the heating unit. If you are looking to save money, the technician may be able to find you a few places around the home where you can make changes without putting the furnace or your wallet in jeopardy.
This winter, just like every winter before, thousands of furnaces will fail and need to be replaced. The problem is that every year, thousands of those furnaces are improperly sized for the homes that they are installed in. Furnaces are not one size fits all and calculating square footage is not enough to determine the proper size needed. Replacing a furnace is a big investment for any family to undertake, and the last thing you should want is for that new system to be the wrong size for your home. The consequences of doing so include:
Most people need the help of a professional contractor in order to find the right size system for their home. The contractor will do a load calculation on your home, as well as consider several other factors before choosing the system that will work best for you and your family’s heating needs. Some of the points that they consider include:
These are just a few of the many checks that a real expert will check. If you find that your contractor is willing to quote you over the phone, you should consider using another company. These measurements cannot be performed over the phone and neglecting to take all of these into consideration could land you with an improperly sized heating system this winter. We offer free in home estimates on all new furnaces. Our Comfort Specialist will carefully assess your home to ensure you have the right size furnace!
Often times you’ll hear us discuss the importance of energy efficiency when referring to new furnaces or boilers. But how can energy efficient HVAC Systems help you save money?
Furnace and boiler efficiency is measured in AFUE or Annual Fuel Utilization Efficiency. This is a percentage that represents the amount of natural gas that is actually converted into heat for your home.
For instance, an 80% AFUE furnace uses 80% of its gas to create heat, and the other 20% is lost during the combustion process. Therefore, the higher the percentage, the less gas you will use, and the lower your energy bills will be. There are different efficiency ranges, and it is important to understand the benefits and losses associated with owning a unit that falls within one of these ranges.
Depending on the age of your system, you may already have an idea of how inefficient it truly is. If you are interested in learning more about the energy efficient systems we offer or if you need help determining the efficiency of your current furnace or boiler, fill out our online form to schedule your free in-home estimate.