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EPA regulations increasing the cost of some air conditioner repairs
Updated: Thursday, June 20 2013, 12:02 PM CDT
WICHITA, Kansas - A required change from the environmental protection agency could surprise your bank account the next time you need the coolant in your air conditioner replaced.
The EPA claims this new alternative is better for the environment, but is it worth the cost?
"It's a good coolant. It works good and everybody was happy," says Frederick Plumbing and Heating's Marty Hole.
In 2010 the Environmental Protection Agency decided a freon known as R-22 was depleting too much of the ozone.
So it put restrictions in place to phase it out of use and phase in a new alternative called 410-A.
"The advantages is the environment, it's telling us it's much better," explains Hole.
Better for slowing ozone depletion.
But when it comes to global warming, even the EPA website shows the new alternative 410-A is no better.
Hole says it's the phase out of the R-22 that's hitting people where it hurts.
"The costs of the R-22 have probably gone up 3 or 4 times since last year. They're supposed to phase it out totally by 2020."
Your average homeowner paid around 18 to 28 dollars per pound five years ago.
Today that's more like 35 to 60 bucks a pound.
While no longer produced, R-22 is still available.
It's also more expensive.
"I've actually even seen it on Craigslist and I don't know how the EPA jumps in on that but I would think they'd frown on buying black market or whatever you want to call it," says Hole.
If you own an older air conditioner you have options, as Hole explains.
"They are making drop-in replacements for the R-22 but the R-22 is such a good coolant the replacements, they don't cool as well."
If the changes have you wondering which option is best...
"I would say update. Update to the newer 410 because that's the direction the manufacturers are going," advises Hole.
Marty Hole says his industry is hearing rumors that the government may also phase out 410-A as soon as 3 to 4 years.
Regardless the original R-22 will still be available through at least the year 2020.