What happens if your air conditioner stopped blowing cold air? You call a professional air conditioner repair company, and the technician says that the unit needs more refrigerant. Since it is just a refrigerant charge, it cannot cost too much, right? Wrong. In fact, your jaw might drop to the floor when you see the bill. You could be charged between $85-115 per pound of R-22 most of the time, even though most air conditioning repair companies no longer sell refrigerant by the pound. If your system uses R-410A it won’t be quite as expensive to repair your air conditioner. If you feel like you are getting ripped off, you are not alone. There are many clients who have felt the same. But the problem is that you have become a victim of supply and demand. This article provides information on why air conditioner repair requiring R-22 refrigerant is so expensive.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ordered that R-22 refrigerant be phased out on a systematic basis about 25 years ago. R-22 refrigerant contains ozone-depleting substances. The order was issued as a result of the “Montreal Protocol.” This was done in order to protect the ozone layer of the planet. In 2010, the EPA once again banned the production and importation of air conditioners that contain R-22 and reduced the production of R-22 by 75%. They planned to reduce the R-22 production by 90% by the end of 2015.
This means there is less refrigerant to go around. But most homeowners still need the refrigerant for their air conditioner systems. Hence, the demand is more than the supply which will eventually increase the price of the refrigerant. Hence, a homeowner will have to pay more for the refrigerant if his/her air conditioner requires it. Since the EPA has placed restrictions on how much refrigerant could be produced, the supplier can sell only a certain amount of refrigerant per day. This is why the price of R-22 skyrockets during the summer months when more and more people require the refrigerant.
The alternative is to use a substitute refrigerant. But there are many caveats in the process. Many of these substitutes are not compatible with your R-22 air conditioning system unless you are willing to make changes to your existing system. On the other hand, most manufacturers have still not approved the use of substitute refrigerants. Hence, your warranty may become void if you use such a refrigerant.
That’s where you have to look at your air conditioner system as a whole. In fact, you have to replace the refrigerant since your system has a leak which means your system is old. The best thing is to get an HVAC and NATE certified technician to inspect your AC system and advise if you need to replace it. In fact, you can invest in an energy-efficient modern air conditioner system which can help reduce your energy bills and improve the efficiency of the unit over time.
In conclusion, R-22 is a refrigerant that is being phased out by the EPA due to its effects on the ozone layer. That’s why an air conditioning repair requiring R-22 is so expensive.