Refrigerant Leak: When to Replace or Repair? - Cagle Service Heating and Air
r22 refrigerant that is being phased out in a green bottle on a wooden table

Refrigerant Leaks: When to repair or replace?

So, What if the HVAC unit has a refrigerant leak?

Most people would be tempted to have their refrigerant or Freon*, as most people call it, refilled, as to try and avoid costly repairs or replacing the unit. This tends to only exacerbate the problem and could end up being more costly in the long run. Many people believe that, over time, an air conditioner uses up the refrigerant. Most believe when the warm air starts blowing, they just need a recharge like in their automobiles.  In reality, an air conditioner or heat pump has a sealed refrigerant system that should never “use up” or run out of refrigerant.

*Freon is a name brand, not the actual name of refrigerant.

Signs I may have a refrigerant leak?

If your A/C is running at a specific temperature but not blowing cool air, or if you notice your areas are taking longer to cool, you may have a leak. Sometimes a person may notice an accumulation of water near the furnace due to condensation from the build up of ice on the copper lines that extend from the HVAC unit to it’s outside coils. Another sign may be your utility bill. Basically the unit will have to work harder than it should to keep the area cool, in turn raising your electric bill. A unit with only a 10% leak can double the electric usage which cause the spike in the bill.

Tips and info on when to replace the unit vs. repairing the unit

*$5,000 Rule*

Multiply the age of the unit by the estimated repair cost. If the result is $5,000 or higher, experts suggest replacing the unit. (Example: You have $350 worth of repair costs on a 10 year old unit; 350 x 10= $3,500)

*Refrigerant Costs*

R-22 refrigerant can range from $40-$175 per pound. The company that makes the R-22 is phasing out this refrigerant to go for a more environmental friendly one. The company ceased all production in 2020. This means the cost will continue to rise and it will be come increasingly harder to obtain.

Please note that the current accepted refrigerant is R410a, but it is also going to be phased out starting on January 1, 2023 as safer, more eco-friendly refrigerants are brought in to replace it.

Refrigerant  leaks are a fairly common problem in the HVAC world. Usually the leaks can be avoided with a preventive maintenance plan.

If you suspect you are having a refrigerant leak, give Cagle Service Heating and Air a call and let us serve you! 731-300-1030

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