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Thread: I think I'm being ripped off

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    6

    Default I think I'm being ripped off

    I used to do most of my own AC servicing but I've gotten too old. My service company came out yesterday. They are going to have to replace the compressor. The compressor and labor cost $1300 but the bill comes to $2000 because the freon costs $700. When I was doing my own work R22 cost me about $5 a pound. That would be $40 for my 8#, not $700. Is it possible that freon now costs almost $100 a pound? That's ridiculous! Inflation couldn't make it cost more that $10 for a total of $80, roughly 10% of what I'm being quoted.
    Last edited by i_am_jim; 06-29-2015 at 04:28 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    215

    Default

    What refrigerant do you need R-22 or the new R410A? R-22 use is highly discouraged by the EPA and Montreal Protocol, so the existing sources are getting more and more expensive, but I think the cost to the HVAC company is around $40-50/lb. Why don't they recover and reuse your existing refrigerant (or did it all leak out)? They could also be gouging you because of the R-22 phase out.

    If you change over to R410A, you'll need a new unit with larger coils. That refrigerant cost is around $5/lb for that type. New HVAC units have not been allowed in R-22 since 2010.

    http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/phas...2phaseout.html
    http://www.angieslist.com/articles/w...price-r-22.htm
    Mark
    Kent, WA

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2015
    Posts
    6

    Default

    It uses R22. My system is only a little over 5 years old. They say after a compressor failure they must replace the freon. The compressor is warrantied but the installation is not. HVAC dealers should be required to warn people if maintenance on the system they're buying is going to skyrocket in a few minutes.

    All I see from those links is that the total production of R22 has declined. Largely, I assume, due to a declining demand because of the change to a different refrigerant. But, regardless of the reason this doesn't explain a price increase of 10 times. Maybe, and I mean just maybe, there would be a small price increase due to the smaller market, but that should be it. Somebody, somewhere, is raking in a lot of free money. Here in Texas there are laws against price gouging, but on the other hand it's a business friendly state so they aren't likely to do anything.
    Last edited by i_am_jim; 06-30-2015 at 01:40 PM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2012
    Location
    Kent, WA
    Posts
    215

    Default

    Production has declined because of the Montreal Protocol treaty (mandated sales limits), not because demand has decreased. So that is why cost has increased. Yes, this has created a gold mine for people who stockpiled it or put it in and take it back out to call it "recycled" so they can still sell it.

    I got a new system in 2005 and they warned me then not to get an R-22 system. Your contractor should have warned you too, as this treaty has been around for a long time. I had the same issue with R410 when my compressor blew up after 4.5 years. It was covered under warranty but not the refrigerant (won't reuse on a blow up) or the house call. It was still quite expensive, and I think back then R410 was more expensive than it is now because it was still "new".

    Remember there is a long time involvement to evacuate and recharge. More HVAC contractors should do this by flat fee if R410 because the refrigerant cost is nearly nothing compared to the labor and associated overhead.
    Last edited by suemarkp; 06-30-2015 at 06:24 PM.
    Mark
    Kent, WA

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