How expensive is it to put gas in my own central air?


  #1  
Old 06-27-14, 09:11 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 142
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
How expensive is it to put gas in my own central air?

We bought this house in 2004 ( Denver area ) and have had nothing but problems with the central air since. We have a 3.5 ton unit.

It seems like the gas has been leaking out, about every year or two. We had the coil replaced, and the condenser, about 2 and 3 years ago, and now it needs gas again. I'm thinking that it just about HAS to be a very slow leak in the line between them, which runs about 35 feet through the crawl space.

I'm 65, on social security and just cant afford this anymore, it's killing us. One guy I talked to, 2 days ago, said that he gets $375 an hour, and it would cost us $500 just for him to come out and put 1 lb of gas in our system. He said that "air conditioning is a luxury and we could always just do without it." But we're both asthmatic ( cant just open the windows ), I'm living with my severely disabled sister, and living without AC just isn't an option.

But I am a former electronics R&D technician, so I'm wondering how much it would cost to get whatever gauge I'd need, and some freon and just fill it myself once a year in the spring? Is this hard to learn how to do, and does the gauge or whatever, cost much?

We also have a place in west Denver that has classes, but I'm not sure if I even need that much?
 
  #2  
Old 06-27-14, 09:27 AM
M
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: USA - N.E.Tn
Posts: 45,765
Received 867 Upvotes on 758 Posts
There are regulations concerning the dispensing of refrigerant, basically you can't buy it or put it in your unit without a license. I check around for a different tech, I'd also consider having the line replaced if that is were the leak is. I'm a painter, not a HVAC guy but the better ones I've been around will charge the system up with a cheaper gas [nitrogen?] to find the leak and repair it before charging with freon.
 
  #3  
Old 06-27-14, 09:27 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,771
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Hi Melissa, Charging a system is not really a DIY thing. You would have to be EPA certified to buy refrigerant. The prices this guy quoted you are ridiculous. No honest AC guys charge $375 an hour. Call someone else. I will see if I can find someone in your area and get back to you.
 
  #4  
Old 06-27-14, 09:30 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 142
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
I may have someone who charges a lot less, I'm just so sick of this.

Of COURSE there would have to be a license - we need government permission to wipe our butts nowadays.

Did you know that converting a car to natural gas only costs $300-$400 in parts & labor, but the EPA requires a $100k license for EACH YEAR AND MODEL OF CAR that a shop wants to be able to convert?!
 
  #5  
Old 06-27-14, 09:53 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Jersey
Posts: 65,616
Received 4,082 Upvotes on 3,665 Posts
That "tech" is not a representative of all technicians. That hourly rate is ridiculous. Call someone else.... explain your situation. I have set hourly rates but I can and do change that amount if the situation warrants it. There are times I have made service calls for half my hourly rate.

Unfortunately to buy and handle most refrigerants you need to be EPA certified in refrigerant handling. You can't even buy most refrigerants without a certification and a commercial account.

Also... a certified HVAC tech cannot knowingly charge a leaking system.
 
  #6  
Old 06-27-14, 09:57 AM
M
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: USA
Posts: 142
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
So how much does the EPA charge people for that privilege?

I've long thought that being an HVAC tech was a license to steal, I just had no idea of the extent of it.
 
  #7  
Old 06-27-14, 10:07 AM
Shadeladie's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: PA - USA
Posts: 4,931
Received 401 Upvotes on 328 Posts
I've long thought that being an HVAC tech was a license to steal
What do you mean by that? There are and will be crooks and cheats in just about every field and there are always those wanting to take advantage. It's not exclusive to HVAC techs.
 
  #8  
Old 06-27-14, 10:13 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Feb 2014
Location: USA
Posts: 1,771
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Ditto from me Shadeladie.
 
  #9  
Old 06-27-14, 10:22 AM
Shadeladie's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: PA - USA
Posts: 4,931
Received 401 Upvotes on 328 Posts
I'm just going to add, that most are NOT like that. My husband works with HVAC people and none of them are like that.
 
  #10  
Old 06-27-14, 10:40 AM
T
Member
Join Date: Jul 2008
Location: Kansas
Posts: 264
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
Tune to 630 KHOW am radio..Call Tom Martino, he is on right now. He can recommend someone who won't cheat you.
 
  #11  
Old 06-29-14, 06:42 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Sep 2008
Location: Long Island
Posts: 695
Upvotes: 0
Received 0 Upvotes on 0 Posts
if you have a slow leak there has to be oil residue at the leak point like on a cars AC pipes road grime.the refilling/topping off yearly is a rip off and that rate is without a "GUN" tops rate $75-$100 quoted from here on Long Island.if the Freon is leaking so is the compressor oil when it is running this will lead to a compressor burn out and major redo of system with a Freon upgrade f it is R-22...so get a pro in recover the Freon nitro pressure test the system pull a tight MICRON test on the system and get it written on the invoice that all this was done...take the $$$ hit and never worry about it again...freon in a system is like air in a car tire isn't it a PITA to constantly fill a slow leak on your car tire
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: