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Most modern air conditioners use Freon as the coolant. As the time goes on, it depletes and your air conditioner begins to work slower. This is a sign that you should refill the coolant. Unfortunately, you cannot refill the conditioner with Freon on your own, as you’ll need excruciatingly expensive equipment and multiple licenses and permits from the local governments. “But why?” you might have thought by this point. Well, let’s dig deeper into the history of Freon to understand why it is not only viable but extremely dangerous to replace it in DIY fashion.
A Short History of Freon
Back in 1920s, people were using ammonia and other dangerous chemicals for refrigeration purposes. To get rid of this problem, a group of inventors formed by Charles Kettering of General Motors and led by Thomas Midgley, Jr. has started to work on CFCs – a group of chemical substances already known for their good cooling properties. Their work turned out to be a huge success, and in 1928 the team has shown a way to improve the synthesis of CFCs and demonstrated its wide range of applications. By 1930, GM and DuPont Chemicals formed a new company devoted exclusively to producing Freon.
Freon was considered harmless to the atmosphere, but in 1970s, a group of scientists has discovered that CFCs are extremely hazardous for the ozone layer. When the gases reach the upper levels of the atmosphere, the solar radiation breaks them down, and the resulting reaction damages the ozone layer as well.
CFC-based Freon gases were completely banned worldwide in late 1980s. Since then, DuPont Chemicals moved to using another gases, such as HFCs, for their Freon products.
All Freon gases are also toxic to humans, if the concentration is large enough. So, if we take into consideration all these factors, the reasons for very restrictive regulations regarding Freon use become very clear to understand.
Cost of Freon Replacement
Luckily, Freon replacement is not as expensive as you could have already imagined; plus, you will only need to replace the gas once a several years. Average cost of replacement equals to $100 – $150, and this should be enough for many years to come. When the professional refills the conditioner with Freon, he will also have to check your system and confirm it’s working properly. Be warned though: if you encounter a need to replace Freon in less than three years, it may mean that you have a leak within the valves or hoses. In that case, a certified professional will have to seal them as soon as possible. Sometimes vendors will offer discounted prices for Freon refills. It usually happens during the colder months, when there is no high demand for the gas.
What Can Affect the Price
You have to take a few factors into account when calculating the price of your Freon refill. Usually the companies will charge you for each pound of Freon gas, and this means that the larger AC unit you use, the more you will have to pay. You will not need a large air conditioner for a small home, and as such, you will not pay as much for Freon refill as you would possibly have to. On the other hand, a small conditioner would not be enough for large home. In that case, you’ll have to scrounge up a few extra bucks.
Remember what we told you about Freon leaks? If your technician will suspect a Freon leak, he will not be able to refill your conditioner without repairs. Government requires every technician to perform a leak check before he or she will be able to refill Freon. Ignoring this procedure will lead to either exorbitantly high fines or a license revocation. Let the technician do his work and be ready to pay an extra if your conditioner will be found damaged.
Time of year and your location can also affect the price. However, these factors are usually very negligible. They should not heavily affect the average cost.
Now that you have an approximate estimate of a Freon refill, you are ready for what to look for the next time your conditioner will need a refrigerating agent. Good luck!