AC Repairs with Refrigerant as Much as Double in Price This Summer
As temperatures increase, so does the cost for repairing and refilling air conditioners with the coolant gas known as refrigerant. Air-conditioning contractors have already started to warn customers. Compared to a year ago, the price for putting refrigerant into a residential or commercial air conditioner will be radically more expensive.
What it means is the cost has doubled on refrigerant for a service call.
The jump in refrigerant costs is due to reduced supply after a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency directive. The EPA is phasing out production of the old refrigerant, known as R-22. That’s because the coolant contains hydro chlorofluorocarbons, which are the gases believed to be eroding the earth’s ozone layer. Instead, the EPA is requiring air conditioning manufacturers to use refrigerant R-410A, which is a cleaner gas. That means the price of the old type of refrigerant has jumped from about $40 per pound to about $90 per pound. A refill of refrigerant in an air conditioning unit usually takes about 5 to 10 pounds of the gas.
These are direct costs that we are paying to buy this refrigerant and we have no choice but to pass this along to the consumer.
The bulk of the high cost in refrigerant to customers is almost entirely linked to repairs to existing air conditioning units in homes and businesses. A single repair cost has jumped from about $100 to $400 since the reduction in supply began.
The skyrocketing price of the old R-22 refrigerant is making the choice to replace much easier. Homeowners are encouraged to make an educated decision as to whether they will pour money into a failing system or replace it.
A customer who is spending $500 to add refrigerant needs to understand there is no guarantee it won’t break down for good the next week or the next day. Why not put that money towards a new air conditioner.
If you had to add refrigerant to your AC last summer, call a trusted service company now, before it gets hot. And consider replacing your failing air conditioner now, before the heat is here and you have to suffer a few days before a contractor can get to you . . . because everyone else also waited.