Recharging refrigerant is one of the most common AC services. If you only need refrigerant added, and the reason doesn’t require a major repair, you’ll spend much less. But the cost of a home AC recharge depends on why you need coolant in the first place, and whether your system still uses Freon or R-22 refrigerant.

According to Home Advisor, the average cost for a Freon refill (in 2021) is between $100 and $350. However, prices continue to go up. If you have an older, larger R-22 system, it can cost $600 or more to refill. To compare prices, R-22 ranges from $20 to $50 per pound while R-410A costs about $3 to $8 per pound (most systems require 6 to 15 pounds).

Don’t Forget Labor

An HVAC professional may charge $50 to $150 per hour to add Freon to your air conditioner. The price of labor varies by location. If the cost of living in your area is high, labor costs will generally be higher. After all, each contractor must cover their overhead costs. Nonetheless, time is a factor; for every pound of Freon, the job takes about 5 to 10 minutes (for a 3-ton unit, you’ll need 6 to 12 pounds of coolant, which can require anywhere from a half an hour to up to 2 hours to fill).

Can I DIY an AC Recharge?

This is illegal. Per the Clean Air act, one must have a license in order to purchase or handle home air conditioning refrigerant. There are many risks involved as well. Refrigerant can be toxic and, if you fill your AC with the wrong type or incorrectly fill it, you can ruin the entire system. Also, if you need a recharge, chances are there’s a leak, which you need a licensed technician to find and fix.

Type of Unit and the Home AC Recharge Cost

Window AC units are generally smaller and cost less to recharge than mini splits or central AC systems. A window unit is also relatively inexpensive but only cools one room. Mini-splits can control the temperature in individual rooms but cover more space. Central ACs, which are more complicated and manage climate control throughout your home, cost more to recharge.

Other AC Recharge Cost Factors

When calculating the cost of recharging AC refrigerant, it’s also important to consider various other factors, including:

  • Freon Recovery: Even if coolant is leaking, there’s likely some left that needs to be recovered. You’ll need to pay extra for recovery whenever disposing an AC unit or it’s opened for repairs. Tight environmental standards govern the process since improper disposal can release material that can be harmful to the environment and atmosphere.
  • Refrigerant Disposal: Companies often charge by the pound to evacuate coolant from an AC system. The cost varies depending on the type of unit and what the contractor charges. This is part of any service involving recharging or changing coolant or replacing an air conditioner.
  • Cause of the Problem: If a leak is present, you won’t just need more Freon, but to fix the reason it leaked in the first place. The refrigerant lines may need to be repaired or replaced. If ice has built up on a line, liquid coolant can reach the compressor (causing major damage), which is even more expensive to fix. Regardless of the problem, the cost depends on what the repair company charges for parts and labor.

Signs You Need a Home AC Recharge

The sooner you schedule service, the more likely you can avoid more expensive repairs. That’s why it’s important to be alert for the following symptoms:

  • The AC is constantly running, but your home isn’t cool.
  • You’re only getting warm air from the vents.
  • The electric bill continues to go up.
  • Ice keeps building up on the refrigerant line.
  • You hear hissing or bubbling sounds from AC tubing.

Contact Black Hills Home Services for Help

Our technicians have the licensure, training, and equipment to address any cause of low refrigerant in your AC system. They can troubleshoot and find any problem, then fix it quickly to restore your comfort. Whatever the underlying issue is, we can correct it and avoid more serious and expensive trouble. To schedule an inspection, home AC recharge, or AC maintenance/repair, contact us online or call 888-979-7946.