The most common refrigerant coolant that most air conditioning companies use is becoming harder to find and more expensive. Because of this, there have been more counterfeit refrigerants flooding the air conditioning market over the past few years. Unfortunately, these types of fake refrigerants can pose a huge safety problem for users as they have the potential to completely ruin an air conditioning system.
In many parts of the country, having working air conditioning is just as important as running water or electricity. If you are in need of air conditioning repair and you need AC refrigerant in order to fix it, you may find that these repairs are more than you thought. Not only that, you may not be prepared. Many of us do not think about our A/C units until they break.
Contractors who fix air conditioning units are now saying that the price of R-22 refrigerant is one of the biggest causes for increases in repair costs. Mark Torocco of Torocco’s Cooling and Heating “It’s exorbitantly expensive today”. R-22, which many people know by the brand name “Freon”, is becoming more costly to purchase as it is being phased out by environmentalists due to it’s effect on the Ozone layer.
Several years ago, contractors were able to buy whole cylinders of R-22 for around $22 dollars wholesale. How much is that same cylinder today? About $800 wholesale. This means that contractors have been steadily raising their prices in accordance with the increase of R-22. There are newer air conditioning units that use a different coolant known as R-140a, but many units still need R-22 to refill them.
The increase in R-22 means that there are counterfeits out there that can either ruin your A/C unit or worse. According to Mark, the counterfeit air can cause compression problems that you do not want to replace. There have also been reports of explosions or fires that were caused by counterfeit refrigerants that not only destroyed the units, but also the homes they were being used in.
There are a few ways that HVAC contractors are attempting to avoid the scam of counterfeit refrigerants. There is a special seal that actually encloses the valves of the canisters that they look for before purchasing the refrigerant. Also, buying from a reputable wholesaler is crucial in today’s world. Contractors should not buy refrigerant from a third-party supplier, such as at a flea market. Many R-22 manufacturers, such as DuPont, have since added a special security label to all of their products. This allows all contractors to know that they are buying legitimate R-22.
If you are a consumer, you need to make sure that your air conditioning unit is protected against any counterfeit coolants. Be cautious when dealing with a company that offers extremely low R-22 recharges, as this could mean the repair tech has bought counterfeit coolant for a cheap price. Check the labels of the refrigerant your tech uses and ask if they have EPA section 608 Certification. If they do, this means that they are knowledgeable about substitute refrigerants, safety and Ozone depletion.