R-22 Outdoor Unit Replacement

HVAC

Deciding When to Replace Your R22 AC

Recently, we have received a few questions about the advantages and disadvantages of replacing an older R-22 outdoor unit (partial replacement) versus replacing the whole system (indoor and outdoor components).  Since R-22 refrigerant and related equipment is being phased out over the next few years as part of the Montreal Protocol regulations to reduce the effect on atmospheric ozone, the decision about whether to stay with R-22 or jump to a new system with R410A is causing some confusion among HVAC consumers.  This is becoming a very common situation and there is really no right or wrong answer as it depends on your particular needs and your personal preferences.  We’ve compiled a few considerations and suggestions for reference.

Replacing an R-22 compressor or the outdoor unit (which contains the compressor) is a good, low cost way to get your A/C  system running again without changing the indoor system (which contains the cooling coil, the blower and often is integrated with a gas furnace or other heating system).  This approach can save some money,  if the indoor components are still in good shape and you can find the R-22 outdoor replacement parts along with the R-22 refrigerant. Many people have decided to do this and many contractors support this approach.  We think this repair will continue to be a viable, low cost repair option, at least through 2016 and maybe longer – as long as parts are available.

Some other low cost replacement options should be emerging even after the R-22 availability dwindles.  Many R-22 indoor coils built since 2006 were designed to be compatible with R-410A, which means a homeowner can keep the indoor equipment but upgrade to a newer outdoor unit and metering device. There are some extra parts and steps involved but it should still be lower cost than a total system replacement. Unfortunately, just like with the R-22 outdoor replacement option mentioned above, the overall efficiency of the system typically will not improve when only the outdoor equipment is replaced.

For people who are willing to pay a little more, some new, high efficiency retrofits are becoming available in the market.  These should help satisfy homeowners who want the low cost replacement but would also like to reduce their energy bills or address some comfort issues like humidity control, nighttime temperature swings or sound and air quality.

Please share any additional questions you have in the comments section below.

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65 thoughts on “R-22 Outdoor Unit Replacement

  1. In April of 2012 a new 3 ton Goodman outside AC unit was installed. About a month later I had to replace the air handler in the attic. The outside air unit says it takes R-22 whereas the air handler says refrigerant 410A.
    I had a service man come out earlier this week because although the unit was running all day, the thermostat would not go lower than 79°,it it cooled fine at night. Daytime temperatures were mid to upper 90s.
    The repair man said the attic unit had a leak and so he put in two pounds of r-22 in the outside unit. He also very strongly suggested I replace the upstairs unit. He said nothing about not being able to readily and inexpensively get r-22 refrigerant beginning in 2020.
    What is the most expeditious and efficient remedy for this situation?
    RC

  2. If R44b is totally compatible then why replaces whole units with the R410. Europe has been using it for years. I have a bad compressor in my unit and am looking for a 4 ton Heat pump Condenser and if need be I will buy the R44b and install it myself. Not that hard of a job for a handyman. I prefer to hire an AC Technician saving me time with his know how, but they LOVE THE MONEY TOO MUCH. $2000 LABOR just to replace the condenser. At $100/hr for 5hrs is more than reasonable.

  3. If you go for a R407, there is no need to replace indoor coil.
    And if you have a leak on R22, an option is to replace the compressor or coils, whichever one has the leak, cheaper than replacing whole unit with a R410.

  4. I have an R22 about 15 years old. It has a leak and the person I had come out today said because R22 is being phased out it was much more expensive that it had typically been. He said I could get a pound or two but with the leak it would be putting off the inevitable. I live in Texas so it will run regularly over the next 3 months plus. He suggested a new unit. This is just for my upstairs and he said a 2-ton unit installed would be $4500. Does this sound like a fair number. Not looking to screw anyone and I believe he should make a living just trying to cover my bases.

  5. Have a bad condenser in older R22 unit (carrier mod 38TG030300). It’s not leaking but lost some fins between the coils. Moving within the year but no ac this summer not an option…replacing system not in the budget. Any solutions you could recommend?

  6. It’s not what I asked in my email, you edited it, I asked if 4 ton will be enough to cool 1900 sq ft in Arizona

  7. Why is replacement installation cost so high? Can find outside 2 to 3 ton units condenser 1000 to 1200, cooling coil replacement 300 to 500. Both 1300 to 1700. Best quoted install price 3500
    so installation cost 1800 to 2200.

    • I need the same thing. Did you find anyone who could replace an old R22 and use the exisiting handler? I was told a new R-410A could not be retrofitted to my handler. It seems I will need a new compressor and handler even though my handler is perfect. Looking for a R22.

    • Depends on the tonnage, but your better off replacing the system, if you hire an honest company your looking at about 4,200 to 5,200 hundred, I do this as side work so i normally charge 500 to 700 hundred less depending on the tonnage and line set footage, or an Evaporator coil or air handler, after a certain amount of feet the system would require additional Refrigerant.

    • Depends on the tonnage, but your better off replacing the system, if you hire an honest company your looking at about 4,200 to 5,200 hundred, I do this as side work so i normally charge 500 to 700 hundred less depending on the tonnage and line set footage, or an Evaporator coil or air handler, after a certain amount of feet the system would require additional Refrigerant.

  8. Have a 1995 five ton r22 Tempstar. The compressor has gone bad. Looking for new condensing unit to replace it with. Will any brand be compatible? Thanks for your advise.

    • Due to the cost of R22, we recommend moving to an R410A system. The indoor coil will need to be replaced so you have a matched system and it operates as it was designed to.

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