Air Conditioner

Why Is Freon So Expensive?

Known technically as R-410A or R-22, you may have noticed recently that the coolant known as “Freon” has become more expensive lately. While it was only a few years ago that Freon cost an average of $10 per pound, the price has more than doubled over the past half-decade. Some companies are even charging as much as $175 for a single pound of Freon. Why is Freon so expensive? How did this happen so suddenly? For that, we’re going to have to look to the EPA, and regulations designed to ban the substance entirely.

What the Change in Freon Prices Mean for Your AC System

When you hear HVAC providers talk about “Freon,” you may assume that it is a general term for coolant. You would have good reason to make this assumption too, since for a long time, Freon was the most common type of AC refrigerant on the market. However, Freon is synonymous with coolant in the same way that “Kleenex” is synonymous with tissues—the brand is so widely-known, people often go to it as a cover-all for the entire product.

While the inflation in Freon prices may be a fairly recent development, the events that led up to this shift are actually decades in the making. All the way back in the 1980s, the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) declared Freon to be an “ozone-depleting substance,” which means it emits greenhouse gases that are harmful to the environment. Since then, the government agency has effectively been trying to ban the refrigerant. In 2010, they finally began to ramp up their efforts to take Freon off American shelves under the Clean Air Act. Five years ago, the EPA declared that the production and importation of Freon would be phased out in the U.S., leading to the spike in prices we are currently experiencing. And as of January 1st, 2020, the new EPA rules are set to culminate in all Freon manufacturing and importing being officially barred in the U.S.

“But wait,” you may be asking, “does this mean it will suddenly become illegal for me to use Freon in my air conditioner?” The answer is no, it’s not like the EPA is going to show up at your house and arrest you for having a Freon-powered AC unit after New Year’s. Remember, it’s the production and importation of Freon that’s being banned—so you will still legally be allowed to purchase and use Freon next year.

Upgrade Your AC System with Roy’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling

The good news here is that if your AC system does not run on Freon, you have nothing to worry about! The bad news is that if you are still using a Freon-based AC system, you will either have to retrofit your air conditioner so it runs on a coolant other than Freon, or upgrade to a new AC unit altogether.

At Roy’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, we highly recommend the latter option. Retrofitting your system is a temporary solution, and not as cost-efficient in the long-run. Our Buffalo HVAC team provides AC installation for all the industry-leading, energy-efficient makes and models of equipment on the market. Plus as our refrigerant experts know firsthand, Freon prices are just going to get higher and higher as the U.S. supply keeps dwindling. Make the switch now, and call our experienced Buffalo AC pros to upgrade your system today.

To schedule an appointment with Roy’s Plumbing, Heating & Cooling, dial (716) 215-2678, or contact us online.