Why are Air Conditioning Repairs So Expensive?

You may have been shocked at a recent maintenance bill for your air conditioning system? The culprit may be in your system’s refrigerant. If your air conditioning system uses Freon, then it’s bad news for your pocketbook: the cost to replace the chemical has been skyrocketing, so it will be an expensive fix if you need to refill the unit.

Hole in the Ozone

Freon, a gas also called R-22, absorbs heat and humidity from the air, making it an essential component of many air conditioning systems. Unfortunately, in addition to its fantastic cooling properties, the odourless and tasteless gas is also a prime contributor to ozone erosion and climate change. That's why the Montreal Protocol environmental agreement scheduled a phase-out of Freon in developing countries, including the USA, beginning in 2004, according to the Environmental Protection Agency.

Starting in that year, the United States had to reduce its consumption of R-22 by 35 percent. The figure was bumped up to 75 percent by 2012, and 95 percent by January 1, 2017. The next step comes in 2020, when R-22 levels must be reduced by 99.5 percent of their previous usage, effectively eliminating them from the U.S. market.

Supply and Demand

The problem is that there are still numerous functioning air conditioning systems that use Freon as their refrigerant. If you have one of these and your system leaks refrigerant, you could be stuck paying through the nose to replace it. Even though Freon is still being produced, the supply has dwindled as producers have cut back in anticipation of lower demand. Therefore, maintenance people and air conditioning system providers have less supply and are charging more for it. Some businesses and even homeowners have even reported thefts targeting their Freon thanks to its newfound value.

After 2020, R-22 won't be produced at all in the United States. The only source will be from providers who have recycled the gas from old air conditioning systems, so the price could reach astronomical heights.

Stop Your AC Unit from Leaking Freon

One way to limit the amount of Freon you must buy is to purchase a new air conditioning system that uses more environmentally-friendly refrigerant like R-410a. Give us a call at 630-668-3466 right away to get a free estimate before you need more expensive Freon. A less effective limit is to have one of our HVAC specialist come by to fix any leaks in your unit so you can hold onto your precious Freon – helping the environment and your budget at the same time.