A/C Rising

by Mike Hunter

Air conditioning in the Valley of the Sun is hardly an optional expense for workplaces any more so than for homes, and businesses may feel a financial impact of a new regulation from the EPA scheduled to go into effect next January 1.

Recognizing that hydrochlorofluorocarbon-22, also known as R-22, depletes the Earth’s protective ozone layer, the Environmental Protection Agency is phasing out its use, making its import and production illegal. Consumers will be able to use it from existing supplies, but those supplies will necessarily become more limited and expensive.

Aiming to enable businesses to prepare for the potential expense, Mike Donley, president of Donley Service Center — a 43-year-old business whose awards include the Better Business Bureau Ethics Award — says owners of older air conditioning units that rely on R-22 have three options: use alternative refrigerants that involve a blend of different types, which requires technicians trained in this method; install a potentially pricey conversion refrigerant; or buy a new unit. He’s found the average unit in Arizona lasts 12 to 15 years.

Donley, noting that he’s seen companies use scare tactics to pressure people into buying new A/C units, says, “Consumers should be cautious about ads that imply you must have a new A/C unit” and advises, “You need to weigh the costs of repairing and replacing.”

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