Is time running out?
Is Time Running Out For Your Air Conditioning System? If your existing air conditioning system is 10 years old or more, now is the time to seriously consider updating it for a number of logical and ecological reasons.
- First and foremost, the operating efficiency of air conditioning systems has improved in leaps and bounds over the past 10 years, so in terms of running costs and general reliability, considerable savings can be made.
- With increasing demand meaning higher volume production and technology advancements, the price of air conditioning equipment has spiraled downwards and so the initial outlay will be considerably less than for an equivalent system bought a decade ago.
- In recent times, new refrigerant, compressor and heat exchanger technology has enabled system components to be greatly reduced in size and so it is highly likely that today's more compact systems will be able to free up valuable – even letable space, to say nothing of the aesthetical enhancements.
- The chances are that an installation more than 10 years old would have required a separate heating facility whereas, today's heat pump air conditioning systems can provide highly efficient year round heating or cooling as required and, again provide the potential for more space savings.
- Many modern systems offer even further operating economies through what is effectively free heat recovery or free cooling processes.
- Inverter technology has achieved such high efficiencies that many systems qualify for tax breaks in the form of Enhanced Capital Allowances.
Probably the most important reason you should consider renewing your older air conditioning system is that time may be running out on its serviceability! The most common refrigerant in use for air conditioning systems, as recently as 5 years ago is a gas known as HCFC R22. For many years this refrigerant was considered perfect for comfort air conditioning systems – until it was discovered to have ozone depleting potential. European legislation, introduced in 2000, banned a number of ozone depleting substances and brought in a phase-out programme for others, this included the highly popular R22. The manufacture, for use within the European Community, of air conditioning equipment that operated with R22 as its refrigerant, was discontinued in stages between 2001 and 2004. The legislation decreed that existing installed systems may be serviced using new R22 until January 2010, after which only recycled R22 could be used, but not beyond January 2015. However it is important to note that these deadlines are subject to a review in 2008 and service bans could actually come into effect much sooner, rendering all R22 systems effectively obsolete. With their increasingly limited service life, air conditioning systems that use the refrigerant R22 are set to become millstones around the necks of owners. Maintenance costs will soar as replacement parts become scarcer. Both new and recycled R22 will become more expensive.
Finally, where once air conditioned real-estate attracted premium prices, that benefit will be reduced if R22 systems remain installed. If you have air conditioning equipment that operates with HCFC R22 the clock is ticking on its legal service life – better to avoid the rush in 2-3 years time and replace it in 2005.