Are you paying too much for Freon?
Checking the refrigerant levels of your A/C is important, but if there is a leak, you might consider buying a new unit sooner than later. (Photo by Brandon Smith)
Your air conditioner — and your wallet — might be living on borrowed time.
If your A/C was manufactured before January 1, 2010, it most likely uses a hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerant commonly known as R-22, or the primary brand, Freon.
The Environmental Protection Agency is in the process of phasing out this ozone-depleting refrigerant, which means homeowners can expect to pay a premium for remaining supplies as the industry moves toward a January 1, 2020 ban on imported and newly-produced R-22.
However, there is a silver lining. We spoke with several highly rated A/C service providers who said prices and accessibility to R-22 remains similar in 2014 as it did in 2013.
“So far, we haven’t had difficulty obtaining R-22,” says Kevin Worden, owner of highly rated Badger State Heating and Air Conditioning in Sussex, Wisconsin. “It’s a very volatile product however, and is constantly rising and lowering in price. Because of this, the price fluctuates on a regular basis. Supply and demand.”
What’s it cost?
Here’s a list of what highly rated providers across the U.S. are charging per pound for R-22. Keep in mind, there’s usually a service charge associated with these types of calls. Before you buy coolant from anyone, make sure you’re comparing apples to apples and find out if that price includes the service call.
First pound: $49
Each additional pound: $49
“We still have easy access to R-22, but it will be getting more difficult in the coming years,” says Nikole Jonsson, office manager.
First pound: $125
Each additional pound: $74
“It seems more so that homeowners understand the phase-out, and are replacing equipment rather than maintaining R-22 units,” says Mike Malek, owner.
First pound: $55
Each additional pound: $45
“Cost today is the main deciding factor, and whether people can afford to purchase a new unit versus repairing their current one,” Worden says.
First pound: $67
Each additional pound: $52
“Our service call is $99, so when we go on a call that needs Freon, the $99 will cover the labor to charge the system,” says Michelle Mingham, owner.
First pound: $40
Each additional pound: $40
“Many homeowners want to maintain their R-22 systems,” says Keith Bennett, owner
Cedar Creek, Texas
First Pound: $69
Each additional pound: $69
“By 2020, there should be no virgin R-22 circulated — it will be recycled Freon,” says Sal Pantoja, service manager.
Port Richey, Florida
First pound: $119
Each additional pound: $57
“The shrinking supply causes the price to rise, rapidly at times, and will soon be unaffordable for many people,” says Bill Wright, president.