HVAC refrigerant costs are up compared to costs in mid 2020. Like many other industries, HVAC in particular has felt the compounded effects of supply chain disruptions over the last year. Soaring refrigerant costs are just an addition to the pain points felt by the increased costs set by HVAC manufacturers and parts & equipment shortages in the supply chain. These issues heavily stem from COVID-19 & the recent Texas winter storm which caused ripple effects through the global supply chain.
According to Tim Fisher, Team Leader of Market Intelligence at HARDI:
The increased cost of transporting goods between countries, layered on top of dozens of industries competing for a limited supply of goods has led to huge price increases for the inputs necessary for production. Since December, core HVACR commodities like copper, steel, and plastic have seen their prices increase by an average of 55 percent, leading to a 3.4 percent increase in the prices manufacturers charge distributors (with more price increases on the horizon).
Refrigerant is a compound typically found in either a fluid or gaseous state. It readily absorbs heat from the environment and can provide refrigeration or air conditioning when combined with other components such as compressors and evaporators. If you’ve heard about the R22 refrigerant phase out in favor of R410A refrigerant, you might be especially interested to know more about how refrigerant works and what part it plays in cooling your home. Refrigerants work to cool your home by absorbing heat from the inside air, and then transforms from a low pressure gas to a high pressure liquid. The hot air is then sent outside. The refrigerant then cools down and & transforms back to a gas, where outside air is brought in over these cold, refrigerant-filled coils, and cooled down before being sent back into your home. There are many types of refrigerants used, and each system has a different refrigerant requirement. The only types used in residential HVAC systems are R22 & R410a, also called by their brand names: “Freon, & Puron”
Refrigerants such as Freon & Puron can cost a homeowner anywhere from $100 and $350 for a recharge, depending on what type of HVAC equipment your home uses. Older & less efficient units that use R22 refrigerant can cost homeowners up to $600, depending on the amount needed.
So far, the cost increases of refrigerant can be traced back to increases in steel prices, which directly contributes to the cost of the steel cylinders that hold the refrigerant. Major refrigerant manufacturers Honeywell, Chemours, and Arkema have also slowed down or halted the production of refrigerants during the COVID-19 pandemic, and as such, supply chains are working to ramp back up. Another factor of cost increases can be attributed to increases in fuel & labor costs, which directly contributes to the costs of manufacturing & transportation, ultimately causing a price increase.
All air conditioning systems use refrigerant to cool the air within your home, so this means that if your unit is low on refrigerant, you will be the one directly paying for the increase in price. As a perk of being part of our Planned Protection Agreement, priority customers receive the first pound of R-410A refrigerant free of charge during our cooling maintenance visits.