North Carolina summertime temperatures can be unbearable — and cranking up the air conditioning, for economic reasons, isn’t a viable option for most businesses and residences. Though fuel costs are on the rise, it is actually government and industry forces – and not “big oil” – that are having the greatest impact on cooling costs for consumers in 2012.
“The rise in cooling costs has everything to do with the HVAC industry and the Environmental Protection Agency doing what is necessary to protect our environment,” says Scott Boyles, president of locally-owned Logan Heating and Air Conditioning and expert on energy-efficient heating and cooling options. “As part of a larger protocol, the R-22 Freon that has historically been used in nearly all cooling units has begun being phased out.”
In fact, R-22 Freon will eventually be completely banned due to its ozone-depleting substances. In place will be one of two more environmentally friendly refrigerants, R-410 or R-422. However, making the switch to the new refrigerant will require a costly modification, or complete replacement, of existing systems. And, those choosing to remain with the older Freon coolant will, too, pay the price.
“R-22 Freon will only be produced for servicing and repair purposes until 2020,” Boyles explained, “and because there will be less supply the price of this product to the HVAC industry is skyrocketing. In fact, the EPA recently proposed an accelerated phase-out of R-22, which has caused the cost to go up more than 400 percent in the last few months.
“Unfortunately, many cooling units are only able to be supported by R-22 and the switch to a more environmentally friendly coolant often will mean replacing your current system.”
Boyles says Logan Heating and Air Conditioning has been educating its customers about the upcoming changes since the phase-out was introduced, but also have been encouraging them to switch to heating and cooling systems that are more environmentally friendly, just for the sake of doing what is best for our planet.
“There are some great options that not only are better for the environment, but will actually substantially save on energy bills,” Boyles says. “Now is the time to look into your options.”