If you need to hire an HVAC contractor to add coolant to your air conditioner this summer, brace yourself; you might be in for a shock. The cost for fixing that leak could cost you more than in years past. Consumers have reported spending two and three times the amount for a common type of refrigerant than in previous years. Talk to a reputable HVAC company to discuss your options.
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Angie Hicks, Angie’s List founder: “The regulations have changed when it comes to air conditioners. The older models use a Freon that is not going to be available in a few years and because of that, production of that Freon has reduced, causing the price to go up. So if you have to replace the Freon in an older model, you are likely going to pay more this year.”
Larry Howald, Howald Heating and Plumbing: “There’s really not a lot a homeowner can do to prevent a leak. With an air conditioning system that sits outside in the wintertime when it gets extremely cold and then in the summertime it gets warm and then the unit operating with some vibration, maybe it gets hit by the lawnmower guy whose using a weed eater or whatever, all those things — just the expansion and contraction can create a leak, and it’s pretty tough for a homeowner to do anything about it. For a homeowner who for many years may have a small leak in their systems and just have us come out in the spring or summer and top it off with a pound or two — well, back in the day that might have run them a couple of hundred dollars. And with today’s prices of R-22, it may be $500 to $600.”
Angie Hicks, Angie's List founder: “If you are faced with a leaking air conditioner, you might really want to consider if you should just go ahead and replace it. What many people don’t realize is that your heating and cooling expenses represent about 50 percent of your energy bills. So, if your air conditioner is getting a little on the old side — maybe it’s 7, 8, 9 years old and you’ve got a repair — you want to make sure repairing it is the best move.”
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