As Central Florida temperatures have increased with the onset of summer, the cost of refilling air conditioners with the coolant gas known as Freon has quadrupled.
Air-conditioning contractors in the Central Florida area have been warning customers to be prepared for a dramatic increase in adding the gas that provides the coolant in air conditioners. The price for Freon in a residential home air conditioning unit will be significantly higher.
So, you’re probably wondering what caused such a significant increase. Well, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has ordered all AC units (typically manufactured before 2010) to reduce the usage of the old Freon R-22 (the most commonly used refrigerant for the last 40 years) and shift all future coolants used to be Freon R-410A. (Anyone with a newer unit manufactured in the last 2 years will not be affected by the change.)
The EPA, due to environmental concerns (R-22 is believed to be a major factor in the erosion of the earth’s ozone), is mandating R-410A because it’s a much cleaner coolant. R-410A is sold under the trademarked names Puron (Carrier), EcoFluor R410, Genetron R410A, and AZ-20. Other countries in Europe & Japan have changed to R-410A. The same thing happened in the auto industry several years back.
Freon R-22 was selling at around $40 per pound and is now almost $100 per pound. So, if your unit is leaking it typically requires about 5 to 10 pounds of coolant to fill your unit. What once was a quick inexpensive fix or stop-gap measure is no longer a viable option. Many people in the milder months simply put off the additional expense but we are heading into the miserably hot Florida summer and residents are having few options. That pin-hole leak which in the past might have cost about $100-$150 to refill is now costing more than $400. Now, the more cost-effective solution is to leak repaired or even replaced rather than continue to pay the high cost of Freon replacement.