why is freon so expensive

Why Is Freon So Expensive? – The Costs Explained


If your facility uses an older air conditioner, chances are your wallet is hurting and not because of standard business upkeep costs. It’s because the cost of servicing your old air conditioner has increased sevenfold. Why has it become so expensive? Well, one look at your itemized service bill will clue you in. Freon, also known as R-22, is the answer. Summer’s rapidly approaching, and you may be wondering why Freon is so expensive.

Why is Freon so expensive?

These are the main reasons, and they each build on one another.

  • Bad for the environment
  • Government interference
  • scarce supply, bigger demand

1. Bad for the Environment

When Freon’s cooling properties were discovered in the 1930s, people around the world rejoiced. No more unbearable and inescapable summer heat, and, most importantly, we could preserve food for longer all thanks to Freon.

Through the 40s and 50s, businesses almost exclusively used Freon appliances due to their effectiveness. And until the 70s, Freon reigned refrigerant king.

However, scientific studies deduced that somewhat ironically, Freon had been destroying the ozone layer. The ozone, which helps the earth regulate heat and temperature, was being rapidly depleted in areas that used Freon.

In the 80s, governments worldwide met and decided to impose an eventual plan to eliminate Freon and to switch to environmentally friendly alternatives.

2. Government Interference

It wasn’t possible to go cold turkey from Freon without the economic effects being felt by manufacturers and consumers alike. Instead, the EPA reduced domestic Freon production and the international import of Freon-charged appliances each year.

In the interim, Puron, also known as R410A, and other safe alternatives were successfully introduced, and by 2010, all air conditioners made in the U.S. used refrigerants other than Freon.

In early 2020, chemical manufacturers across the U.S. halted Freon production and the federal government outlawed foreign Freon appliance imports.

3. Scarce Supply, Bigger Demand

Despite the EPA’s slow reduction plan, Freon AC units are still in use in the U.S. The price of Freon continues to grow but is still considered cheaper than getting a newer, Puron appliance.

Purchasing an entirely new air conditioning unit is often too large an upfront cost for many consumers to bear. Their Freon air conditioners still work: and if it ain’t broke, why fix it?

So large demand + limited product availability = rising Freon prices and frustrated consumers

To help circumvent the scarcity, service providers recharge AC units with reclaimed Freon from older, out-of-use units. Reclaimed Freon, despite what you may initially think upon hearing the name, is still expensive. Remember, no American Freon has been made since 2020.

Another factor in the cost of Freon is who can service your appliance. The repairmen responsible are required by law to be specially certified to carry out their jobs, which tacks on an even heftier cost and can be harder to find given your geographic location.

What’s the Solution?

So now you know why is Freon so expensive, the only solution is to make the switch to a non-Freon air conditioner. Financing options and assistance programs exist that can help customers shoulder the financial burden.

Freon is now a finite resource, the price will continue to increase, and eventually, there will be no more. Start making a plan to purchase a new air conditioner.

When you’re ready to make the leap and operate in the NJ, NYC, or PA area, contact us! We’d love to help your facility modernize and be more environmentally friendly.

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