Atlas AC Repair, LLC

Air Conditioner Freon Refill Cost guide for 2021

  • The service fee to refill an AC unit with refrigerant will cost from $160 to $760
  • R410A cost $45 per pound for the average homeowner to refill the AC unit
  • R22 costs around $80 per pound to refill the freon in a home air conditioner

Air Conditioner Freon Refill Cost guide

Air conditioner freon refill cost per pound 
  • Refill AC unit service – $160 to $760
  • R410A – $40 to $50 per pound
  • R22 – $75 to $90 per pound

Why does freon cost so much?

The prices to recharge an AC unit with freon have been skyrocketing. You might be asking, is it my local air conditioning company gouging me, or is freon prices really going up like crazy? 

Freon

It’s well known that freon is bad for the environment but did you know that some freon types are worse than others. When a new, safer, freon is invented in order to phase out the old types, the US Government will outlaw the manufacturing of the older freon like R22. This only leaves the R22 in inventory to use. As supply runs out distributors charge more and more until it’s gone. This is why it feels like the freon price per pound is always going up.

Labor

The labor cost to refill your outdoor AC unit is freon doesn’t vary that much. It shouldn’t take any longer than one hour to diagnose the problem, add refrigerant, and recalibrate the system. So when you see the cost going up to refill your AC unit, it’s not due to the labor cost.

Freon Refrigerant refill cost Breakout

Knowing only the cost per power to add refrigerant to an air conditioner doesn’t tell you the entire story. A lot of companies charge a service or diagnoses fee that is on top of the cost per pound of freon. One pound of R410a might only cost $40 but when you add the services fee in the actual cost is $160.

What is included in adding Freon to an outdoor AC unit

    • Diagnose problem
      • Do a thorough inspection of the system to identify the problem
    • Add Refrigerant and Calibrate 
      • Add needed refrigerant 
      • Verify pressure are correct and the AC system is performing correctly.
digital diagnostic tool connected to outdoor AC unit in residential backyard
Item Material CostLabor Cost At $120 Per Hr.
Diagnose System$0$60
Add Freon (1 Pound)$40 - $90$30
Calibrate System$0$30

Cost To Refill Entire AC Unit

Before you can answer “how much it costs to refill your air conditioner?” You first have to answer “how many pounds of refrigerant is it low?” Sometimes your AC only needs 1lbs but sometimes it can need quite a bit of refrigerant. Some high efficacy systems can hold as many as 15lbs of freon. You can spend from $160 to $1,320 depending on the system type and how many pounds it is low.

Recharge AC unit14 SEER (up to 8lbs)16 to 18 SEER (up to 10lbs)18 SEER+ Multi Stages (up to 15lbs)
2 Ton $160 - $520$160 - $680$160 - $1,080
2.5 Ton $160 - $560$160 - $720$160 - $1,120
3 Ton$160 - $600$160 - $760$160 - $1,160
3.5 Ton$160 - $640$160 - $800$160 - $1,200
4 Ton$160 - $680$160 - $840$160 - $1,240
5 Ton$160 - $760$160 - $920$160 - $1,320
AC condenser connected to diagnostic tool used to inspect air conditioning units

1 to 2 pounds low

Your air conditioner can lose a pound or two over time, it’s not a big deal, it just happens. However, if you are adding a pound every few months that means you probably have a freon leak. If this is the case, I recommend having your AC technician do a leak search to see if they can find the problem. But if it’s a one-time thing for a pound or two, it’s not that big of a deal.

3+ pounds low

If your air conditioner is more than 3 pounds of refrigerant low, you might have a leak in your system. Just by adding some refrigerant doesn’t mean it’s going to fix the underlying problem. I would recommend having your HVAC company do a leak search to see if they can find where the leak might be. There might be a leak in the evaporate coil, condenser, or line set. If there is a leak in the coil or condenser there is a chance it still might be under warranty. I recommend trying to track down the issue if there is one because when your system is this low in freon the compressor can get damaged which is very expensive to replace.

R410a & R22 Refrigerant Price Breakout

You might be aware that freon prices keep going up and up, but why? Freon is not good for the environment so the EPA regulates the manufacturing and sales of refrigerants in the US. The EPA is phasing out R22 and replacing it with R410a, which is more environmentally friendly. At some point, R410a will be replaced too. This is why the cost of freon per pound keeps going up, now as high as $80 for R22.

YearR410aR22
2021 Cost$45$80
2020 Cost$42$70
2019 Cost$40$60
2018 Cost$37$55
2017 Cost$35$50
R22 Freon refill tank

R22 Phase-out

On January 1st, 2020, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the production and importation of R22 in the United States. If it can no longer be manufacture or imported into the US, where is R22 coming from? HVAC distributors saw this coming to they stocked up on R22 before they could no longer get their hands on it. So, the entire HVAC industry is working out of 2020 R22 stock. As the stock runs out prices continue to go up till R22 is out of stock. The r22 freon cost per pound in 2021 has now risen to $80 per lbs. If you own an R22 system, I recommend starting planning on replacing it in the near future.

R140a Freon refill tank

R410A Phase-Out

R410a will most likely get replaced with the next leading freons, R-32 and R-454B. R410a is not going to be phased out for a while but HVAC manufacturers starting to plan for it. Many manufactures are going to quit building air conditioning systems with 410a by 2023. Which will start the phase-out process. Much like the R22 phase-out timeline, it will take another 10-years for it to start affecting homeowners in the US. 410a freon cost per pound in 2021 should be around $45 per lbs.

If you are interested in learning more, take a look at our new AC unit, new furnace replacement, and best air conditioner brands blog. If you happen to need an AC company San Antonio, give us a call and we can help.

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