How Much Does R-22 Freon Cost?
Written By: Alexis Bennett
Edited by: Andrew Dunn
Looking for accurate cost information for R-22 Freon?
Perfect you’re in the right spot.
In this guide you’ll learn:
- What is the average cost per pound of R-22 Freon?
- Cost to replace R-22 Freon with a warranty?
- Can I replace R-22 Freon myself?
- … and answers to all your R-22 Freon questions.
What should homeowners know about R-22 costs for your air conditioning system? Also known as HCFC-22 refrigerant, “Freon” is a common brand name, like “Kleenex” for facial tissue.
The R-22 refrigerant sold these days is reclaimed and cleaned up from old units. As a rarer and rarer commodity, the price has been increasing over the past few years.
The cost of R-22 refrigerant is not going to go down anytime soon. It is an increasingly rare commodity. Why is that? Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidelines that were put in place a decade ago requiring an R-22 phase-out. R-22 Freon is a contributor to greenhouse gas and depletion of the ozone layer.
In 2010, new central air conditioning and window air conditioning units produced could no longer use R-22 Freon as the refrigerant.
What's In This Guide?
What about existing units?
As of January 1, 2020, HCFC-22 cannot be made or imported into the United States. This step came after a rollback on the production and import of the refrigerant between 2010 and 2020.
Existing R-22 can be used as long as it is cleaned to the same air quality standards as new refrigerants. While this phasing out is still in motion, the R22 refrigerant price will keep going up. They are becoming less ozone-depleting substances, but the cost of cleaning them up, along with its scarcity, means the costs will only rise.
What does that mean for your home air conditioning needs? Read on to find out.
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Average Cost To Replace R-22 Freon?
First of all, there is a lot of misinformation out there. While R-22 is being phased out, it is still perfectly legal to replace it in existing HVAC systems. You want to keep your home energy costs down, get better energy efficiency, without breaking the bank.
Some in the HVAC industry want to feed you faulty information about R-22 refrigerant. Check out this video below to learn more:
But What About The Cost?
When it comes to replacing refrigerant, the price of R-22 is twofold: the cost of the freon itself, and the labor to install it.
A quick Google search will show you that in 2020, the refrigerant can cost between $50 and $140 per pound. Market prices for this commodity fluctuate, so you’ll want to check the current costs before you make any big decisions about fixing your existing system or installing a new air conditioner. Hopefully, it won’t come to that!
Also, you’ll need a trained HVAC technician to add the new Freon to your air conditioning unit, which can be anywhere from $85 – $150 per hour.
The size of an average residential air conditioning unit runs between one and four tons. Units above four tons are considered commercial units. Here’s the kicker: you can expect to use one to four pounds of R-22 refrigerant per ton. That adds up pretty quickly, depending on how much Freon needs to be replaced in the system.
What’s The Cost To Replace R-22 Freon If You Have A Warranty?
So just calling in a trained tech to repair your AC system and replace the R-22 refrigerant can get pretty pricey. Will a warranty help mitigate those costs? Let’s take a closer look.
New HVAC units do not use R-22. New systems often use replacement refrigerants like R-4010a (also called Puron). This is a more environmentally friendly refrigerant. But if you are dealing with an older system (R-22 AC production being phased out in 2010), a manufacturer’s warranty will do you no good.
If your home has an HVAC system that uses R-22, a home warranty can protect you from costs related to refrigerant failure. You’ll be paying a monthly premium — usually somewhere between $30 and $65 — and a service call fee of between $75 and $100.
So, if you need to replace Freon in a three-ton unit, that can be up to 12 pounds of refrigerant. But if you have a home warranty from Choice Home Warranty, for instance, you will already be ahead of the game in terms of price. Premiums for a Choice Total Plan should run less than $600, plus an $85 service call fee.
Whatever home warranty you consider, be sure to read the fine print carefully. Be sure that replacing refrigerant is not excluded.
DIY vs Hiring A Professional To Replace R-22 Freon?
What are your prospects for doing this as a DIY project as opposed to hiring a pro to take care of this? Let’s take a closer look.
So can you just give your R22 system a tune-up yourself? Unfortunately, R-22 is a type of refrigerant that is sold only to certified HVAC technicians, so replacing spent Freon is not a DIY project you can take on without Section 608 Certification.
A technician dealing with R-22 Freon needs to be certified under Section 608 of the Clean Air Act. But being an informed consumer will help you make sure the project gets done right. Technicians should not just “top off” the refrigerant in these older units. They should be looking for refrigerant leaks in the system to protect the environment and to ensure that you are not just pumping dollars and Freon out into empty space. Doing a thorough check of your AC will help you avoid a second service call for the same problem. When leaks are stopped, your cooling system will be more energy-efficient and improve the performance of your air conditioning.
Final Thoughts on R-22 Freon Replacement
You want your home to be comfortable, especially when the summer heat really kicks in. If you have a refrigeration system that is even just 10 years old, you are likely to be using R-22 Freon as a coolant. The expense can be pretty hefty, and it’s not something you can just run down to the home improvement store, pick up, and install yourself. But knowing what to expect can help you prepare and get things taken care of the right way when your AC goes on the fritz.