Thank you for writing to me and the kind words about my site. You made my wife happy as she designed it. You ask great questions. I don't think the industry would survive a product that breaks every year. Well maybe I am wrong as I have been going through many cell phones and fax machines lately. Heat pumps cost about 1/3 of what natural gas heaters cost to run and about 1/5 of what propane heaters cost to heat. I have serviced gas and heat pump heaters for over 25 years and I have found that gas heaters have a much higher failure rate and last half as long. I give gas heaters 5 to 7 years and heat pumps 12 to 16 years on average. I see it all the time. One person gets a heater in a neighborhood and the next year after they see the savings, many of the neighbors do, and then all the pool guys start selling heat pumps. If you get some brands you will have a 5 year parts and labor warranty at your home. That is a long time to have somebody come out to the house. You should never need freon for your pool heater or air conditioner for that mater. If you do need freon you won't have a problem. The freon in the heat pumps (22) will be banned for new heaters in 2010. (Some manufacturers have already changed freon.) Then they will make new freon for servicing them for another 5 years, I believe. Then I am sure recycled freon should be around for another 25 years after that as all the air conditioners are replaced, that are in service. Maybe billions of pounds?
Even if the freon that is in your heat pump disappeared tomorrow you can always convert your heater to whatever new freon replacement is on the market by changing the expansion valve and maybe the oil in the compressor. I don't think there is any need to be concerned for about 25 years. And if your heater is still around in 25 years I will treat you and a couple of your friends to dinner at the restaurant of your choice. That is if I am not been scouted and drafted to a hockey team in some Eastern European country will bad cell phone reception.
Please let me know if you have any other questions or would like me to call you.
360 568 3718