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Why is Freon So Expensive?

Why is Freon So Expensive?

If you’ve ever found yourself in need of a minor repair for an older air conditioning and heating system, you may have been shocked and baffled when your technician handed you their price quote. How in the world could something as simple as a recharge be so expensive? The answer to this is fairly simple: if you have an older system, it might run on R-22 Freon refrigerant, which now runs anywhere between $80 and $115 or more per pound. Believe it or not, you’re not getting ripped off. However, here’s what you can do about it to avoid having to pay such extreme prices.

R-22 Is Being Phased Out

R-22, or “Freon” as it’s more commonly-known, was the go-to refrigerant for central heating and air conditioning systems for many years. However, Freon is also well-known for being moderately toxic and contains high levels of ozone-depleting substances, making it particularly bad for the environment. As a result, the EPA ordered R-22 refrigerant to be phased out roughly 30 years ago.

This order went into overdrive back in 2010, when the EPA outright banned the import and production of heating and air systems that were pre-charged with R-22 refrigerant. R-22 production was also reduced by 75 percent, and overall production was reduced by 90 percent as of 2015. Eventually, Freon will be completely phased out as a heat pump refrigerant substance.

Supply & Demand

What does that have to do with the cost of your recharge service? Simple: supply and demand dictate market prices. With less Freon available on the market, the cost has to rise to compensate and temper the demand for the substance. As a result, the high cost will in turn cause demand to drop as people start looking for viable alternatives that are cheaper.

Furthermore, in addition to these rules inflating prices to try and voluntarily get people to get rid of their Freon-based system, the EPA has also made it extremely difficult to get R-22 at all. The substance can only be purchased from licensed retailers, and even then the purchase may only be made by those who have obtained permission or permits to do so. This adds another substantial overhead to the cost of purchasing the substance, and as a result few contractors are even willing to work with it anymore.

What You Can Do

If you have a Freon-based system, odds are its age is probably starting to show somewhat. Freon-based systems are generally at least a decade old by now, which means many are probably starting to show signs that they’re on their last legs. If you want to avoid paying these high prices for R-22 refrigerant, consider having your system replaced with one that operates on a new, environmentally-friendly and even more efficient refrigerant option, such as R-410A. While this might seem like a larger expense now, you could wind up saving hundreds or even thousands in the future by avoiding having to pay the high costs of a Freon recharge.

Looking for heating and air conditioning services in Fredericksburg to replace your aging and broken systems? Call 72 Degrees Air Conditioning & Heating at (830) 302-3140 to request a quote today!

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