Often, an air conditioner can begin to work slowly or improperly due to being out of coolant and needing a Freon refill. Unfortunately, recharging your AC with Freon gas is not something which can be done by the ordinary do-it-yourselfer. Not only do many local and state governments require permits and special licensing to work with refrigerant, but the machinery to do it is exceptionally expensive. Also, complicating matters, Freon gas is dangerous when it enters the atmosphere so recovery of the old gas is important. For these reasons, it is necessary to have a professional recharge the air conditioner, but professionals mean spending money. So what is the average amount to expect to spend on refilling your refrigerant?
The cost is luckily not extreme, nor should your Freon need to be replaced on a regular basis. For between $100 and $150, you can get a refill which should last for many years. Usually when a professional refills the Freon, he will also check to make sure the system is functioning properly. However, if the Freon needs to be refilled again in less than three years, you may have a leak within the hoses or valves which will need to be sealed. To get the best price on a Freon refill, check for sales during the cooler months when demand is not as high.
There are some factors to consider that can either raise or lower the cost of a normal recharge. Companies charge by the pound for a Freon replacement, so the size of your unit and the level of your current refrigerant can skew this average up or down. For a small home, a large AC unit is unnecessary, and the smaller the unit, the less Freon it will need. But, on the other hand, with a large house comes a large air conditioning unit, and this will cost more to refill when it inevitably runs low.
If your technician suspects a Freon leak, your costs will also have to go up; since refrigerant is a regulated substance than can be harmful to the atmosphere, the EPA demands that a leak check be performed and any repairs made before the Freon can be refilled.
Refrigerant recharges can also sometimes vary just based on location and time of year, but these factors shouldn’t too dramatically affect the average cost.
With a good round estimate of a Freon refill in your mind, you should be confident what to look for the next time your central air needs refrigerant.