Freon cost skyrocketing due to Federal Regulations
The price of R-22 refrigerant commonly referred to as “Freon” is climbing faster than an Arizona summer’s temperature and if the heat makes you hot under the collar, the cost to add Freon to your system will really make your blood boil!
Due to government regulations to “phase out” the production of “ozone depleting” chemicals like Freon, production has continued to decrease causing prices to skyrocket in recent days.
While Magic Touch Mechanical in Mesa, AZ has only been recommending and installed equipment with the refrigerant 410A (R-22 Freon’s replacement) for several years, to save our clients from these headaches, not all contractors have followed suit. This puts their clients in a precarious and costly position should they need to add refrigerant to their systems.
Federal regulations call for a whopping 90 percent reduction of R-22 refrigerant Freon by 2015 and to be completely obsolete by the year 2020.
Most air conditioners manufactured before 2010 use the old refrigerant Freon. Since R-22 equipment cannot be replaced with 410a, most homeowners will be forced to replace their older (or even newer) equipment if a substantial leak should present itself, unfortunately a common problem with air conditioning units.
While a 410a a/c unit can just as easily develop a leak as an R-22 unit, from vibration, stress cracks, faulty factory and field welds, etc., without any warning, the cost to replace 410a is a fraction of it’s predecessor. It’s a simple matter of supply and demand…and there’s plenty of 410a around but not R-22.
What can you do to protect yourself?
First of all if you are in the market for a new air conditioning system, do NOT let any contractor convince you an R-22 is a good idea because it may be less expensive initially. In fact kick him/her out of your house and let the door hit them in the rear on the way!
If your unit is 12 years or older, it’s a good time to start planning for replacement anyway so inform your contractor that you only want to consider 410a systems. They are available in most every brand nowadays.
If you are one of the unfortunate people whose system has a slow leak or if you have a “major” leak (more than half the systems total charge), consider replacing your equipment as opposed to throwing good money after bad to replace refrigerant that will only continue to grow more scarce and costly.