If you recently had R-22, also known as Freon, added to your heating and air conditioning system, you probably noticed the high price.
No matter where you live or what company you call, expect to pay a pretty penny to add R-22 to your system. This is directly due to the rising price of R-22, and it is only going to continue increasing.
Here, we’ll will explain why the price of R-22 is rising, and explore options to avoid adding it to your system.
What Is R-22?
R-22 is a type of refrigerant used to run air conditioning systems. Once you have R-22 in your system, it does not need to be replaced and will just continuously cycle through.
If your system has a leak and starts to lose refrigerant, however, then you will need to have more added.
With a minor leak, a small amount of R-22 can be added to your system and it may run fine for months or years.
On the other hand, if your leak is larger, more Freon will be needed and depending on how fast it’s leaking, it could last for only a few months, a few days or even just a few minutes.
When you have a leak, there is no way to tell how large it is or how long the refrigerant will last. With the price of R-22 rising, it’ll be a costly choice to keep adding it to the system without solving the problem.
Why Is R-22 Becoming More Costly?
Ten years ago you were probably paying next to nothing to have Freon added to your system (but we’re sure everything was a lot cheaper back then!). The recent spike in the past few years is due to a little thing called the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that is phasing out substances that are depleting the ozone layer.
Under that treaty, the Environmental Protect Agency has ordered a phase-out of R-22 due to its negative environmental impact. That mandate is, in turn, causing the price of R-22 to rise.
According to Angie’s List, “As part of the agreement, production ended in 2010 for new air conditioning units ‘charged’ with R-22 and production of the refrigerant itself was reduced by 75 percent. As of 2015, R-22 production has dropped by 90 percent. By 2020, it will no longer be produced at all.”
What this means is the price of R-22 is not going to drop anytime soon, so what options do you have?
Alternatives To R-22
If your system has a known leak and you constantly have to add R-22, you do have a few other options.
You can continue “gassing” it up, as we call it, but with R-22 prices rising, it’s not an option we would recommend. Instead of throwing your money away on refrigerant you know is going to leak out, you can repair the leak.
O’Brien Service Company can perform a leak search to determine the source of the leak and give you a price quote to replace or fix the leaking part. While this might solve the problem for the time being, if another part starts leaking, you’re right back where you started.
Depending on the age and condition of your system and the cost of fixing the leak, sometimes the best option is to replace your system.
New systems now use R-410A, a more environmentally friendly refrigerant that has replaced R-22. Not only is it better for the environment, it’s also cheaper since it is so readily available. And before you ask, you cannot add R-410A to a system that uses R-22, sorry!
Simply put, the price of R-22 is on the rise due to the phase-out and it’s not going to drop anytime soon. If you’re constantly putting Freon in your system, you may want to consider having your system repaired - or replaced, if that is a better option.
O’Brien Service Company can take care of all your air conditioner’s needs, so don’t hesitate to give us a call. Whether you need more R-22, a leak search and repair quote or an estimate for a new system, contact the pros at O’Brien.
O’Brien Service Company is a certified Trane Comfort Specialist and works on both residential and commercial systems. The company’s highly trained and versatile technicians can expertly handle complex repairs and installations, and provide advice on the benefits of regular maintenance. To arrange a free at-home consultation, call (910) 799-6611, or visit the company’s website at www.obrienservice.com.