Let’s be honest, our air conditioner system is an appliance that we can’t live without. Whether it is during those hot summer months or cold winter afternoons, the HVAC system keeps us comfortable at home. That’s why it would be a nightmare if it suddenly stopped working. To prevent this from happening, you need to always clean the filters, schedule regular maintenance and check if your AC system needs recharging.
Usually, an air conditioner freon refill cost could be anywhere between $100 and $350 depending on the type of HVAC system you have. Plus, you need to add another $70 per hour for labour. However, to help you understand this situation better, we will break it down below. But before we move one, we believe it is important that you know what involves a refill of your AC.
What is an Air Conditioning Recharge?
You will find that some people call it a recharge, but it’s actually a refill, this means there is no need for electricity, in a moment you will know why. The first thing that you need to understand is that your HVAC system uses a refrigerant to absorb the heat from the air. Then there would be a transfer of heat. But, without refrigerant, this last step won’t happen. That’s why during an air conditioning recharge, a technician will refill your refrigerant.
Even though this process sounds as simple as refilling your car’s oil is not. The substance used can be a hazard for you and your appliance if you don’t know how to handle it. Plus, by law, it is required that a professional refill your air conditioning system.
When do I need to recharge my AC?
Recharging your air conditioning system is not something you should do as part of your regular maintenance, since the appliance is built to store the refrigerant. That’s why in an ideal case, your refrigerant could even last longer than your air conditioning. In case you need to recharge the refrigerant, that means there is a leak. To help catch this issue on time, here are some signs you need to look for.
- Room Temperature air
One of the most common signs that something is wrong with your refrigerant if your vents are blowing room temperature air. It can be hard to notice at first since this won’t be a sudden change. Instead, over time, the temperature that you feel coming out of the vents will start to degrade. This is a process since as the refrigerant starts running out the HVAC system won’t produce any cool air.
A frozen unit can also be a sign of a leak in your HVAC system. This can happen because the refrigerant is a gas that will freeze a surface once it touches it. That’s why if there is a leak, you will notice that the pipes will java a frosty texture on the inside. Once you see that your pipes are frozen, chances are your house will already be warm.
Even though it is an extra cost, it is always a good idea to do the regular maintenance of your HVAC system. We know that when it comes to recharging air conditioning, most homeowners can’t afford it. That’s why the best option is to hire a technician that could come at least once a year to your home and inspect your system.
It is common for leaks to happen when you’ve had your air conditioning system for more than ten years. However, if your appliance is brand new, you can call the fabricator and ask for a replacement free of charge.
Recharge Air Conditioning Cost By Unit
If you want to ask, ‘how much to recharge home AC?’ The answer is that the freon refill cost will directly depend on the type of unit you have at home. Here we are going to talk about the basic systems.
- Window Unit
This type of unit is easy to identify since it will be the one that is mounted in one of the windows of your home. These units are great since they are affordable, but the downside is that they can only cool one room at a time. If you have a window unit, the air conditioner freon refill cost will be between $100 and $150.
- Split air conditioning system
A split AC system is the perfect option if you are looking for something that will provide cool air during the summer and heat in winter. Plus, this unit will cost less than central air conditioning. For a split air conditioning system, you will have to use R410A. However, some units are still using R22. For this system, the recharging air conditioning cost is $400, but it could increase up to $600.
- Central air conditioning
This is the most popular system amongst homeowners since it offers many benefits. For instance, it has the power to cool your entire house. For air conditioning that is this complex, you might have an air conditioning freon refill cost between $200 and $500.
The labour cost
It doesn’t matter which air conditioning unit you have, you will have to add this value to the recharge air conditioner cost. In general, depending on the HVAC technician you hire, you could pay between $50 to $150 per hour. Plus, the final price will also be calculated based on your location.
For instance, if you are a resident in a neighborhood with a high price of living, chances are you will have to pay more. Labour in this situation is unavoidable, that’s why you should always add it to your freon refill cost.
Price of Freon per pound
If you want to know how much to recharge home AC, you need to know the price of freon per pound. Before, everyone would get R22 for $80 to $140 per lb. But, right now, it can be difficult to find it since its production stopped. Instead, you can get the new alternative R410A.
For this freon, you can expect to pay between $4 to $10 per pound. Keep in mind that you won’t only pay for the recharging air conditioning cost because you’ll also need to repair the leak. Depending on how damaged is your unit, you can end up with a bill between $3000 and $4000.
How long does the recharge take?
As we mentioned above, only professionals are licensed to refill your air conditioning system. Overall, an expert can spend five to ten minutes filling one pound of refrigerant. For instance, in a regular household, you might have a 2.5-ton air conditioning system. That means that to recharge it, you will need 5 to 10 lbs. of freon. As a result, the whole process can take 25 minutes up to an hour and forty minutes. However, if you have any doubts, you can ask the technician after their first inspection.
Recharging or Replacement?
Most of the time when people hear that there is a leak in their HVAC system, they think their only option is a replacement. But, that is not always true, since depending on the leak, a technician can easily fix your system. However, sometimes a replacement may be cheaper than a recharge. Before you take this decision, we recommend you consult with an expert and determine how big the damage is to your unit. Recharging your system is only a great option when your leak is minimal.