Here it is folks, the final piece of the Phaseout series. And this one gets personal. A quick recap for those of you who are just joining us: we started out learning about the chemistry of R22 and what it does to our environment. Then we went on a virtual trip to Vienna and Montreal (pause to soak up the virtual atmosphere). After that, we came back home and visited Congress to find out what they were up to on the subject. Now we get to wrap up by talking about what all of this means for businesses like Oliver and for homeowners like you.
Let’s start with the impact on homeowners. The first thing I want to clear up for you is that no one is going to require you to change out your system just because of this phaseout. If you bought an R22 system in 2010 or years earlier, you can use it until it no longer meets your needs. Depending on your personal situation, a recommendation to convert may make sense, but you are not required to do so. Period. Be very wary of any contractor telling you otherwise.
The second issue impacts both homeowners and contractors, and that’s repair of existing R22 systems. And unfortunately, these repairs are going to get more expensive for everyone. As manufacturers decrease their production of R-22, businesses are competing to purchase enough of the remaining stock to meet their customers’ needs. This competition for resources among businesses drives the price up, and that increased cost eventually finds its way to consumer invoices.
The challenge for businesses is managing this problem of supply and demand. How do we continue to take care of our customers without breaking the bank (ours or yours)? There is no standard industry approach in this situation, so it’s up to each company to figure out where that balance lies. Which is actually a good thing, because the needs of our customers here in southeastern PA are going to be a lot different than the needs of customers in, say, Corpus Christi, TX. I can’t speak for how other companies are handling the problem, but here’s the solution you can expect if you are an Oliver customer.
At this point in time, we are continuing to provide refrigerant of both types to our maintenance agreement customers at no additional charges or changes to their current coverage. That means if your contract entitles you to the first two pounds free, they’re still free. And if your plan covers all refrigerant needed, it’s still covered. Right now, the only customers who will be impacted by the increased price are those who choose not to enter into a maintenance agreement, or whose plan does not offer full repair coverage. We think this is pretty fair, and lets us shield our long-term customers from as much of the impact as possible.
As an old boss of mine used to say, daily, “I wish I had a crystal ball!” to tell you that we will never have to change this policy, but I don’t. What I can tell you is that we’ve stayed in business for over 40 years now by doing everything in our power to do right by our customers, and we don’t intend to stop now. I hope this series has been helpful to you in understanding what’s going on, and would love to hear your feedback on it!
Until next time,