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Why Is Freon So Expensive?

If you have an older air conditioner in your home that has stopped blowing cold air, you might be in for a surprise. When your Palm Beach County air conditioning technician tells you that you need a simple recharge and hands you an estimate that may be as high as several hundred dollars, your jaw might hit the floor and leave you feeling as though you’re being ripped off. This is far from true: the service itself isn’t what has driven the price up, but your old air conditioner itself may have.

This is because many older air conditioners are built to run on a refrigerant fluid known as R-22, or as it’s more commonly known, Freon. Freon is a fluid that can be easily found in both liquid and gaseous forms and is remarkably good at transferring heat from one place to another, particularly when used in a heat pump. However, R-22 is also moderately toxic to both humans and animals, and it also has qualities that have been found to be damaging to the ozone layer of our atmosphere. As a result, the Environmental Protection Agency ruled about 25 years ago that this substance needed to be phased out.

Government Bans, Supply, and Demand

This is why the cost of Freon is so high today. Back in 2010, the EPA outright banned the import and manufacture of air conditioners that were pre-charged with R-22 refrigerant, and reduced its production by 75 percent to try to curtail its usage. By 2015, the EPA wanted to reduce production levels by 90 percent, leading to its eventual permanent removal from usage.

So what does this have to do with your air conditioner? Due to the severely-limited supply of R-22 and the small number of air conditioning companies that have the ability to even purchase it, the demand for this substance far-exceeds the available supply. As a result, the price skyrockets. It’s become extremely difficult to get Freon, and many people are even resorting to purchasing reclaimed R-22 from old air conditioning systems to try and cut back on costs.

What Can You Do?

What does this mean for your air conditioning system? Well, for starters the only reason you should ever need to have your system recharged is because you had a leak in your refrigerant lines, which necessitates a major repair in the first place. However, the cost problem for Freon-powered air conditioner owners isn’t going to go away.

While it might seem like a more expensive option, you might want to consider outright replacing your air conditioner with a new, state-of-the-art system that’s designed to run on a different modern refrigerant. Today, most systems come pre-charged with a refrigerant that’s equally or even more effective at transferring heat but has little to no ozone layer impact, making them safe for use and even future-proof as they’ll likely never be banned for environmental harm.

Learn more about replacing your air conditioner by calling Phoenix Air Conditioning, LLC today at (888) 660-4337!