Tuesday, February 7, 2012

EPA mandate heats up freon prices

You may be singing the summertime blues the next time your air conditioner runs out of freon. An EPA mandate is pushing up the costs for air conditioning units made before 2010.

The freon used in air conditioners is called r-22, and it's expected to more than double in price.

Verlon Wulf, a local repairman, has worked with air conditioners for more than 25 years. He says the majority of the work he does during the summer months is on one thing.

"We get a lot of calls where they have a leak and something is going on, when we do have to get out there and add some refrigerants to it, and of course most of that is for r-22," says Wulf.

Unfortunately, r-22 is about to get more expensive.

"Before, if you wanted to add some r-22 it was probably about $20 a pound something like that, now it's up closer to$45 to $50 a pound."

The price will now increase due to an Environmental Protection Agency mandate that forced a change in all A/C units built at the beginning of 2010. Those units take r-4-10-A freon, which is better for the environment.

"The new refrigerants, because of the mix and the blend that they are, dissipate a whole lot quicker so when it does leak out into the atmosphere it does a lot less damage," adds Wulf.

The EPA mandate also forced manufacturers to cut back on the production of r-22 freon, which makes the price go up because inventory is down.

The newer freon is still about $20 a pound. The average air conditioner holds between five and ten pounds.

The EPA mandate also phases out the production of r-22 freon by 2020.

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