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Prices heat up on chemical that keeps A/C cool

Posted July 25, 2016

The shortage of a common chemical means a boost for the air conditioning to battle summer's heat will cost more this year.

R-22 (the brand name is Freon) is used in most air conditioners. Because of environmental concerns, the industry is phasing it out, so, with R-22 in more limited supply, the cost is now soaring.
"We're probably taking 25 to 30 percent more phone calls and more service calls than we normally do," said Jason Litvak, HVAC manager at Michael and Son.

Litvak explained that in anticipation of a 2020 deadline, less R-22 is being manufactured, so what is available is in high demand.

"The price of refrigerant is changing because they are phasing out more and more, so closer towards the end of the year, refrigerant is going to go up because it's going to be another scale down in the production, so there's going to be an increase in the price," he said.

The price to the consumer can vary from company to company – anywhere from $80 to $200 for a pound of R-22.

Before settling on any air conditioner repair, Litvak advises that homeowners shop around for a fair quote.

"Most are $100 a pound. Very few will be lower. If you get $150 to $200 a pound that is too much,” he said.

Consumers should also ask the air conditioner technician to use a scale to get a more certain weight, which determines the cost.

Any air conditioner that needs more than a pound or two may have a leak.


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