How much does it cost to recharge a home AC?

National Average Range:
$250 - $900

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Updated: December 4, 2022

Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez remodeling expert. Written by

To provide you with the most accurate and up-to-date cost figures, we gather information from a variety of pricing databases, licensed contractors, and industry experts.

You never realize how much you appreciate your AC until you do not have it. One of the most common problems with an AC unit is the need to recharge the refrigerant. Luckily, AC recharge is only required if there is a leak. If the AC needs a recharge, the unit only blows warm air, but it will be a gradual change. By the time you notice there is a problem, your house is already hot. If the only problem is adding the refrigerant, the cost will be much lower. While the cost of new air conditioners is going up in 2023, costs for recharging should remain stable, except for recharges containing Freon and some other scarce coolants like R410A, which will no longer be used in new systems in 2023. As Freon and R410A become scarce, costs will rise. However, newer alternatives for these coolants are increasingly available at lower costs.

The national average cost to refill the coolant in an AC unit is between $250 and $900, with most homeowners spending around $400 to repair a minor leak and refill a 2.5-ton AC unit with R407A refrigerant. This project’s low cost is $100 for an AC unit recharge for a 1-ton window AC unit with R407A refrigerant. The high cost is $2,000 to repair a major leak in a 5-ton central AC unit and refill it with an R422B refrigerant.

Home AC Recharge Price

Home AC Recharge Cost
National average cost$400
Average range$250-$900

Cost to Recharge Home AC Unit by Type of Unit

Three basic AC units are available: window, central AC system, and split AC system. The average cost of recharging a home AC unit after a leak ranges between $100 and $600, depending on the unit type. While AC unit refrigerant leaks are very common, the prices for a recharge vary depending on the unit. Because R22 refrigerant, also known as Freon, is banned for production and importation in the United States, it has become significantly more expensive to recharge R22 air conditioning units since 2020. Even AC units that do not take R22 can be pricey because the cost of an HVAC recharge or heat pump refrigerant charge can be inflated to cover various expenses. Understand the current pricing for coolant so that you do not pay more than the market price.

Cost to recharge a window, mini-split, and central home AC (mobile)

Type of UnitCost to Recharge
Window AC$100 - $200
Mini-Split$100 - $300
Central AC$150 - $600

Window AC Recharge

A window unit is mounted in a window of your home. The home AC recharge cost in this unit is $100 to $200. These AC units are an inexpensive alternative to central and split systems but only cool one room. Window AC units do not require refilling unless there is a leak, which requires a licensed HVAC technician to perform the repair and refill. Many states require a license to perform this task. R410A is the most common coolant used in window AC units, which is more environmentally friendly than R-22 (Freon).

Charge a Mini-Split

A mini-split AC unit system is less expensive than a central air conditioner and has an advantage over a window unit because it heats and cools. The average cost to recharge an AC unit is $100 to $300 for mini-split systems. Another advantage of using a mini-split AC unit is that the user controls the temperature in specific rooms instead of the entire house. Until 2023, split-system ACs used R410A coolant unless it was an older unit, which used R22 (Freon). However, Freon was discontinued in the United States in 2020, R410A units are being discontinued at the end of 2022, and R22 and R410A are increasingly difficult to find. You can still purchase them at higher costs or use an alternative like R422B. If your unit has R22 and leaks, it is most environmentally sound to repair the unit rather than refill it.

Central Air Recharge

Recharging a central AC costs $150 to $600 for the entire unit. This is the most complicated system but typically the most logical choice for homeowners. It has many advantages, including cooling the entire house. Central AC units include an outdoor unit, evaporator coils, pipes or refrigeration lines, ducts, and an indoor thermostat to set the desired temperature. Recharging a central AC requires several steps. It is best to leave the refill to a professional with the knowledge and tools to do the job properly and safely.

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Labor Cost to Recharge a Home AC

Hourly rates for a professional AC technician range from $50 to $200 per hour. Some HVAC technicians charge a minimum fee of between $75 and $200 for any service, applying it to the first hour of service. If you have an older system and need R22 Freon, adding Freon or changing from Freon to another chemical increases the recovery fee from $50 to $150. This is because the Freon must be properly recycled. A professional must do the job because coolants are usually chemicals that should be handled with care.

Refills are only needed if there are leaks or damage. Because of this, the refill service is usually performed with other AC repairs like coil or line replacements. In most cases, it takes 5 to 10 minutes to fill 1 pound of refrigerant. A 2.5-ton HVAC unit that requires 5 to 10 pounds would take about 25 minutes to 1 and 40 minutes. By law, all AC recharging must be done by a professional. This law is part of the EPA section 608 of the Clean Air Act. The unit age is not a determining factor in the time needed.

Consuming coolants can have many disastrous effects on humans and animals, so entrust any HVAC service to professionals rather than take unnecessary risks. If you have coolant in your home, make sure it is out of reach of pets, children, and other individuals and is properly marked to prevent unsuspecting individuals from tasting it.

Cost to Empty Lines and Recharge Home AC

Some AC units have minor leaks and require refrigerant replacement. Others may only need a small-top off or recharge, while some need a full replacement. The coolant amount that needs replacing and coolant type impact your final costs. The full cost to replace refrigerant in an AC unit is $100 to $1,800 based on the coolant and unit type and length of the refrigerant lines. The home AC refrigerant recharge that still runs on R22 is even more expensive, given the lower available supply of R22 coolant. Replacing R22 coolant costs $50 to $80 per pound. You can change from R22 coolant to a less expensive coolant, provided your technician is willing to do so, and remember to recycle the R22 responsibly.

Refrigerant capacity and cost to replace the refrigerant in a 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, and 5-ton AC (mobile)

AC SizeRefrigerant CapacityReplacement Cost
1 Ton2 - 4 lbs$100 - $350
1.5 Tons3 -6 lbs$100 - $500
2 Tons4 - 8 lbs$150 - $700
2.5 Tons5 - 10 lbs$200 - $900
3 Tons6 - 12 lbs$250 - $1,200
4 Tons8 - 16 lbs$350 - $1,500
5 Tons10 - 20 lbs$500 - $1,800

Cost of Refrigerant per Pound

Today, most homeowners are familiar with Freon (also known as R22), a colorless, non-combustible gas that acts as a refrigerant. Depending on the refrigerant type, the price of coolant for an air conditioner ranges from $4 to $80 per pound. Although Freon may have once been the most popular refrigerant on the market, many other coolants have taken its place in recent years. In 1992, the EPA determined that hydrochlorofluorocarbons were harmful to the environment and began a campaign to eliminate their use.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons are the chemicals contained in the Freon recharge home AC product. If your system was manufactured before 2010, it might be using R22 to cool. On January 1, 2020, all production and importation of R22 ceased in the United States. This does not mean homeowners with R22 AC units cannot get the product anymore. However, R22 is more difficult to obtain and could be very expensive. Professionals can still use recycled R22, but the idea is to eventually phase it out entirely to curb the damage R22 causes to the Earth’s ozone layer. Systems that use Freon are no longer sold, but several Freon alternatives are available, which are specified in the table below. Many of these alternatives have the same density as Freon, meaning you can replace the existing Freon in your older system with another coolant. Your technician can ensure the Freon is taken to a recycling center, where it can be handled responsibly.

Refrigerant cost per pound by type: R134A, R410A, R22 Freon, R404A, MO99, R407C, R421A, NU-22, R427A… (mobile)

RefrigerantCost per Pound (Materials Only)
R134A$4 - $5
R407A$4 - $6
R404A$4 - $7
R407C$5 - $7
R421A$6 - $9
NU-22$7 - $8
R422B$7 - $9
MO99$9 - $11
R427A$10 - $11
RS44B$11 - $13
R410A$12 - $25
R22 (Freon)$50 - $80

R134A Price per Pound

R134A is an R22 replacement coolant used for high-temperature refrigeration applications. The price per pound for R134 refrigerant ranges between $4 and $5. R134A has been implemented in a select few home AC unit applications. This refrigerant’s properties make it less likely to deplete the ozone and contribute to global warming like the traditional R22 refrigerant.

R407A Refrigerant

R407A is an environmentally friendly alternative to R22 or classic Freon. The R407A price is generally between $4 and $6 per pound. R407A is a fitting choice for low-to-medium temperature refrigeration applications. R407A is a high-performing replacement for R22 and features a lower GWP (global warming potential) than R404A and R507. It can be used in old R22 equipment and more modern designs that were made to use R404A or R507. R404A equipment can even be converted to run on R407A.

R404A Price per Pound

The refrigerant R404A was successfully used to replace R502, another Freon damaging the environment. The average R404A price per pound is between $4 and $7. R404A is less popular because it has a higher global warming potential (GWP) than R410A and does not achieve very high energy efficiency. R404A works best for low-to-medium refrigeration applications. However, R404A is now prohibited in new equipment and significantly limited in older applications due to its high GWP.

R407C Refrigerant Price per Pound

R407C is a more environmentally friendly refrigerant option compared to an R22 coolant. It does not deplete the ozone. However, it still contributes to global warming, so it is not the most eco-friendly option. Average R407C prices range between $5 and $7 per pound. R407C is a blend of three components: R32, R125, and R134A. It is well-adapted for air conditioning applications and medium-temperature range chiller equipment.

R421A Refrigerant

Though several R22 refrigerant replacements are available today, R421A stands out as a prime choice. Its two-component composition makes it the safest R22 replacement available. The average price of R421A refrigerant is between $6 and $9 per pound. Because R421A coolant contains so few components, less fragmentation occurs at high temperatures, making for smoother operations. This drop-in replacement is easy to incorporate into a residential or commercial AC unit in just a few minutes.

NU22 Refrigerant

NU22 refrigerant is an ecologically friendly replacement for R22 Freon that does not require an oil replacement. The average cost of NU22 per pound is between $7 and $8. All R22 should be evacuated before adding the NU22 coolant. It is non-flammable, non-ozone depleting, and features the same operating pressures as the traditional R22 coolant.

R422B Refrigerant

Like many other coolant options, R422B refrigerant is an eco-friendly replacement for R22 coolant. The average R422B price is $7 to $9 per pound. It is approved for use in residential and commercial air conditioning systems and does not require a retrofit or oil replacement upon use. However, before using R422B coolant, AC units should be evacuated of R22 and recharged with R422B coolant.

MO99 Freon Price per Pound

MO99 Freon, also known as R438A, is an R22 replacement refrigerant that does not require homeowners to perform an oil change. The average cost of MO99 Freon per pound is between $9 and $11. Because R22 is now illegal to produce or import into the United States, homeowners need quality replacements that perform well long-term. MO99 Freon is one option for residential and commercial air conditioning systems.

R427A Refrigerant

R427A coolant is a replacement for R22. The average cost of R427A coolant per pound is $10 to $11. It features similar pressures and capacity as traditional R22 Freon, with even better efficiency than most R22 retrofits. R427A is well-suited to commercial and residential AC units and other low-to-medium temperature applications. R427A became a popular replacement for R22 coolant systems starting in 2005 and continues to be a high-quality choice for various refrigerant needs.

RS44B Price per Pound

RS44B is a drop-in replacement coolant for R22 after its 2020 ban in the United States. Filling Freon in a home with RS44B refrigerant costs between $11 and $13. RS44B’s discharge pressure, flow rate, and cooling capacity are very similar to R22. Like the MO99 Freon, RS44B does not require an oil change, and its GWP is the lowest of all R22 drop-in replacements.

R410A Cost per Pound

R410A is the most popular coolant type. R410A price per pound, or Puron refrigerant cost per pound, ranges between $12 and $25. It is more environmentally friendly than R22 and does not damage the ozone layer. It is approved for residential AC use. Many new AC units use R410A coolant, and more AC units started using R410A instead of R22 starting in 2010. However, R410A is also being phased out in 2023, making costs volatile. This means many people may switch to R454B coolant for their existing systems instead because this is the coolant that will be sold for new systems going forward in 2023.

Freon Cost per Pound

Due to its high efficiency in residential and commercial spaces, R22 has been America’s go-to refrigerant for many years. It is now being replaced with several more eco-friendly coolants. The R22 cost per pound is currently between $50 and $80. However, R22 prices continue to fluctuate as supply dwindles and demand gradually slows. R22 is no longer the main coolant option in the United States because of its damaging effects on the environment and ozone layer. Starting on January 1, 2020, the United States government banned the manufacturing and importing of R22. As a result, traditional Freon has been replaced by numerous alternatives that are not harmful to the environment but mimic the performance of R22.

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Freon Recovery Cost

Because Freon recovery is necessary when an AC unit is disposed of or opened to undergo repairs, it is a fairly common service. The three main refrigerant recovery methods are liquid refrigerant recovery, vapor refrigerant recovery, and push-pull refrigerant recovery. While slower than the liquid method, vapor recovery is the most common method. Laws concerning refrigerant recovery are becoming increasingly strict throughout North America to protect the environment. The average cost for Freon recovery is between $50 and $150. Safe Freon recovery helps uphold environmentally friendly standards within the coolant industry, effectively limiting the risk of releasing coolant into the atmosphere during recovery, recycling, and reclaiming.

Refrigerant Disposal Cost

When replacing an AC unit or incorporating a different type of coolant, homeowners are required to pay a Freon removal cost. This service is a standard part of HVAC services and allows homeowners to safely change their AC units and/or change coolants without worrying about safety hazards and more. Freon evacuation costs vary depending on the type of unit that you have and the professionals providing the service. The average freon removal cost is between $30 and $100, with some companies charging around $2.50 per pound to evacuate coolant.

R22 to R410A Conversion Cost

Production and importation of R22 was banned in 2020. In 2023, another coolant originally used to replace R22, R140A, will also be discontinued. While some homeowners have been converting their AC units from R22 to R410A, this will no longer be an option. Conversion costs were high, with some estimates ranging from $2,000 to $4,500. Most companies plan to use R454B as the major replacement, but some companies use something else. Therefore, costs are still in flux for conversions and may continue until at least mid-2023.

AC technician checking the level of refrigerant

How Often to Recharge Home AC

When it comes to how often homeowners should recharge their AC units, there is no hard-and-fast rule. Because every home AC unit is different, the frequency with which homeowners should recharge their units depends on how fast their coolant leak is and how significantly the leak affects their AC. If your AC unit has trouble producing cool air at the beginning of every summer, then you likely need a yearly recharge just before the weather gets warmer. However, as previously mentioned, there is no standard or rule for how often AC units should be recharged. It simply depends on your particular unit’s leak and how well it is producing cool air.

How Many Pounds of Refrigerant per Ton?

The amount of refrigerant that your AC unit uses depends on its size and type. AC units are categorized by the amount of air they can cool in an hour. For example, the ability to cool 12,000 BTU (British Thermal Units) of air per hour means that an AC unit is a “1-ton” unit. Likewise, if an AC unit can cool double that amount or 24,000 BTU of air per hour, it is a 2-ton unit. Generally speaking, an AC unit takes two to four pounds of refrigerant per ton. The following table provides a comprehensive overview of various AC unit sizes and their corresponding refrigerant amounts.

Amount of refrigerant needed in lbs for a 1, 1.5, 2.5, 3, 4, and 5-ton AC (mobile)

TonsRefrigerant Needed in Lbs
1 ton2 - 4
1.5 tons3 - 6
2.5 tons5 - 10
3 tons6 - 12
4 tons8 - 16
5 tons10 - 20

How Many Ounces in a Pound of Refrigerant?

Measuring and converting substances from ounces to pounds, or vice versa, can be tricky, especially with products like coolant, which can appear in a liquid or gaseous state. Even though it might seem complex to convert refrigerants between ounces and pounds, in reality, it’s not that difficult. Refrigerants adhere to the basic rule that says that there are 16 ounces in 1 pound. That being said, you can simply multiply the number of pounds of coolant that you have by 16 to know how many ounces you have. For example, 2 pounds of coolant multiplied by 16 equals 32 ounces.

Freon Alternatives

Even though some homeowners find the ban of R22 an inconvenience, many Freon alternatives are on the market today. And coolants like R454B, R466A, and R470A are suitable choices for anyone seeking an efficient replacement for their Freon home AC unit. The following information provides an in-depth look at other Freon alternatives than those mentioned above.

  • R454B. R454B coolant is a replacement for the R410A coolant. The advantage of R454B is its lower GWP level, which is better for the environment. R454B is a blend of R32 and R1234yf. Its low GWP makes R454B the best option on the market currently for low-flammability refrigerant applications. This is the coolant that will replace R410A in 2023 for new systems.
  • R466A. Developed in 2018, the R466A coolant was designed to be a lower GWP coolant alternative to R410A refrigerant. It is adapted to stationary air conditioning units and is non-toxic and non-flammable. Despite this, R466A is not yet available on the market. Its sale was predicted for 2020, but as of January 2023, it is still unavailable to homeowners, and concerns persist about its compatibility.
  • R470A. R470A, also known as RS53, is a drop-in, non-flammable replacement coolant for R410A refrigerant. One of the main advantages of using R470A over R410A is that its GWP is half of R410A’s, which makes it more environmentally friendly. R470A operates well with most of the lubricants used with R410A, so switching is not a hassle. As of 2021, R470A coolant is available in the United States, but it is not yet a widespread coolant option.

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Enhancement and Improvement Costs

AC Leak Repair

The most common reason you need an AC recharge is due to a leak, so repairing leaks helps prevent the need for future recharges. Repairing leaks in an AC system costs between $400 and $1,500, depending on the cause of the leak and its location. There are several places where coolant leaks that require AC repair commonly happen. The most frequent one is the evaporator coil, but it can also occur in the condenser coil, line set, or Freon valve. Some parts only require a simple repair, while others must be replaced entirely. However, fixing a coolant leak as soon as you notice it is important because it can cause environmental and health issues. In some cases, the repair cost is so high that it makes more sense to replace the entire system.

Additional Considerations and Costs

  • Licensed professionals. The EPA requires that anyone who handles or purchases refrigerants after 2018 be trained and licensed.
  • Unit conversion. It may be more cost-efficient for homeowners with older R22 AC units to purchase a new unit rather than convert to an R22-replacement coolant and equipment.
  • DIY. Refilling the refrigerant on your own is not recommended for both health and environmental reasons. Some states even prohibit recharging the AC on your own. Always hire a certified HVAC professional to recharge, repair, or install an air conditioning system.


  • Can you recharge a window air conditioner?

While it is possible to recharge a window AC unit, homeowners are not advised to recharge their own window AC units. It’s always best to work with a licensed HVAC professional to recharge window air conditioning units and repair any existing coolant leaks.

  • Do home air conditioners need to be recharged?

In their original, perfect state, home AC units do not need to be recharged. However, if your AC unit develops a leak, it must need to be recharged and repaired to continue functioning properly. If your AC unit is blowing hot air, you may have a leak and could require the assistance of an HVAC professional.

  • Can I add Freon to my home AC?

It is illegal to handle or purchase your own Freon or coolant. The EPA requires that individuals who work with any type of coolant be trained and licensed in the correct procedure to handle these chemicals.

  • How do you know if your AC is low on Freon?

When your AC is low on Freon or coolant, you will experience problems like the unit running but the house never gets cold, ice appears on the refrigerant lines, a hissing sound comes from the refrigerant line, or warm air comes through the vents.

  • How long does Freon last in home AC?

Freon, or any other refrigerant, does not wear out or lose its functionality. The AC system is sealed, and the coolant continuously recycles unless there is a leak.

  • Is Freon banned in the US?

Freon is not banned from use but is no longer legal to produce or import. Its most popular replacement is Puron or R410A.

  • Is my air conditioner illegal?

There has been a lot of confusion over banning Freon in air conditioners, leading some HVAC technicians and homeowners to believe that older air conditioners are illegal to possess or use. This is not the case, however. You can operate a Freon-containing air conditioner, repair it, and even add more Freon. While Freon cannot be produced, it is still available for sale and can be recycled and used again. You can also choose to have the Freon removed from your existing system and replaced with another coolant if you are concerned