Your air conditioner has stopped blowing cold air and you realize it’s time for a refrigerant re-charge, so you call for a repair but you’re completely flabbergasted when you’re handed the invoice soon after. Since when did refrigerant carry a price tag exceeding well over $100 per pound? How in the world could such a simple repair cost so much? What you may not realize is that you’re not being ripped off but are actually the victim of surging prices of R-22 refrigerant, also known as Freon, due to government legislation. Let’s take a look at why.
BAD ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT
For many years, air conditioners relied on R-22 Freon refrigerant to facilitate the heat transfer necessary to cool your home. Freon was easy to produce and effective at its job, so the overwhelming majority of air conditioners sold in the country relied on this chemical compound. However, further research revealed that R-22 is an extremely volatile compound that has devastating consequences on the environment due to its ability to deplete our ozone layer. The more studies were conducted into the phenomenon of climate change, the more people realized how important it is to try to lessen our impact on the environment around us. Eventually, the EPA ordered that Freon be phased out and replaced.
That was nearly 30 years ago. Fast-forwarding to the year 2010, the EPA instituted a full-fledged ban on importing new air conditioning units that were pre-charged with Freon. American chemical manufacturers were required to reduce R-22 production by 75 percent, with that number escalating to 90 percent by the year 2015. As a result, air conditioning manufacturers stopped producing Freon-dependent units all together, and today finding a new unit that’s run on Freon is virtually impossible.
SUPPLY & DEMAND
This is why Freon has suddenly become so expensive. Since the production of this substance has been so heavily restricted, finding Freon to re-charge an already-installed air conditioner has become difficult. What little Freon is made has become so rare that the prices have skyrocketed. Much of the Freon you can buy today is actually reclaimed, meaning it was extracted from an old system before disposal. Since the supply is so low, but demand still remains fairly high, Freon prices are jaw-dropping.
Even then, finding a way to actually buy the refrigerant isn’t easy. You are required to purchase it from a licensed and approved seller, and even then finding a technician who can actually use it to recharge your system is also difficult. This alone adds to the overhead cost of Freon, making it even more expensive. With the substance on its way out, many air conditioning and heating repair companies aren’t even bothering with obtaining these certifications: they cost too much and simply don’t earn them enough business to justify the investment.
THE EFFECT ON YOUR HOME
Eventually the demand for Freon will be gone, but if you’re still in the market for it, you may be wondering what you can do to avoid the huge expense of a re-charge. While reclaimed Freon may help you save a little bit of money, the cost is still going to be astronomically high. Instead, you should consider replacing your air conditioner with a brand-new system that runs on a legal refrigerant option. Modern refrigerants are not only perfectly safe for the ozone layer, but they’re actually even more efficient at transferring and carrying heat, allowing your system to work better while using less energy.
The cost of replacing your air conditioner may seem like a huge investment, but when you compare it to the cost of continually repairing an old system and paying for several recharge services, the price can fully justify itself in savings after just a few short years. That cost only gets even more palatable when you consider that a new, cutting-edge air conditioning system could actually save you hundreds of dollars on your electric bill every year. All in all, the cost of continuing to upkeep an old, inefficient system may far exceed the cost of investing in a new one.
If you’re looking to upgrade or replace your existing air conditioner, speak with the Los Angeles HVAC repairs experts from JW Plumbing, Heating and Air today! Dial (888) 523-7445 to request a service estimate.