How Much Does It Cost to Recharge Home AC?

National Average Range:
$200 - $700
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Reviewed by Cristina Miguelez. Written by Fixr.com.

You never realize how much you appreciate your AC until you don’t have it. One of the most common problems with an AC unit is the need to recharge the refrigerant. 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.

The national average cost to refill the Freon in an AC unit is between $200 and $700. Most homeowners spend around $360 to repair a minor leak and refill a 2.5-ton AC unit with R410A refrigerant. The cost of recharging the unit depends on the gas type and the amount of gas the unit needs. At the lowest, an AC unit recharge costs around $100 for a 1-ton window AC unit recharge with R410A refrigerant. At most, the cost will be $2,000 to repair a major leak in a 5-ton central AC unit and refill it with an R410A refrigerant.

Home AC Recharge Price

Home AC Recharge Cost
National average cost$360
Average range$200-$700
Low-end$100
High-end$2,000

Home AC Recharge Cost by Project Range

Low
$100
Recharge a 1-ton window AC unit
Average Cost
$360
Recharge their 2.5-ton split AC unit with R410A refrigerant and repair a minor leak
High
$2,000
5-ton AC unit recharge with R410A refrigerant and a major leak repair

Cost to Recharge Home AC Unit by Type of Unit

Three basic AC units are available for purchase: 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 type of unit. AC unit refrigerant leaks are very common. However, the prices for a recharge vary depending on the type of unit you have. Because R22 refrigerant, also known as freon 1, 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 2 refrigerant charge can be inflated to cover various expenses. It pays to be aware of 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

Cost to recharge a window, mini split, and central home AC

Type of UnitCost to Recharge (Labor Included)
Window$100 - $200
Mini Split AC system$100 - $300
Central AC system$150 - $600

Window AC Recharge Cost

A window unit gets its name from being mounted in the window of your home. The home AC freon recharge cost in this type of unit costs $100 to $200. These AC units are an inexpensive alternative to central and split systems but only cool one room at a time. Window AC units don’t require refilling unless there is a leak, which will require licensed HVAC technicians 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 a more environmentally-friendly option than R-22.

Cost to Charge Mini-Split

A mini-split AC unit system is less expensive than a central air conditioner and has an advantage over a window unit as it heats and cools. The average cost to add freon to 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 all at once. The split AC system uses R410A coolant unless it is an older unit. Older units use R22. However, this was discontinued in the United States in 2020. You can do the recharge yourself, as there are many DIY refill kits with all the components needed to do the refill. However, it’s recommended to hire a professional to prevent overfilling the system and damaging the compressor.

Central Air Recharge Cost

Recharging a central AC costs $150 to $600 for the whole unit. This is the most complicated system, but it is generally 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 3 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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Average Labor Cost to Recharge a Home AC

Hourly rates for a professional AC technician are generally between $50 and $200 per hour. It is not uncommon for HVAC technicians to charge a minimum fee for any service (between $75 and $200, applied to the first hour of service. If you have an older system and need R22 Freon, the cost of adding freon to your home AC increases from the recovery fee of $50 to $150. A professional must take care of 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 five to ten minutes to fill one pound of refrigerant. A 2.5-ton HVAC unit that requires five to ten pounds would take about 25 minutes to an hour and 40 minutes. All AC recharging must be done by a professional, by law. This law is part of the EPA section 608 of the Clean Air Act. The age of the unit is not a determining factor in the amount of time needed.

Consuming coolants can have many disastrous effects on both humans and animals. For these reasons and more, entrust any HVAC service to the professionals rather than taking unnecessary risks. If you have any 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 of Refrigerant per Pound

Today, most homeowners are likely familiar with Freon (also known as R22), a colorless, non-combustible gas that acts as a refrigerant. Depending on the type of refrigerant you use, the price of freon for an air conditioner ranges from $4 to $50 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 doesn’t mean that homeowners with R22 AC units aren’t able to 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 that R22 causes to the Earth’s ozone layer. Systems that use Freon are no longer being sold, but several Freon alternatives are available, specified in the table below.

Refrigerant cost per pound by type: R134A, R410A, R22 Freon, R404A, MO99, R407C, R421A, NU-22, R427A, RS44B, and R22B

Refrigerant cost per pound by type: R134A, R410A, R22 Freon, R404A, MO99, R407C, R421A, NU-22, R427A, RS44B, and R22B

RefrigerantCost per Pound (Material Only)
R134A$4 - $5
R407A$4 - $6
R404A$4 - $7
R410A$4 - $10
R407C$5 - $7
R421A$6 - $9
NU-22$7 - $8
R422B$7 - $9
MO99$9 - $11
R427A$10- $11
RS44B$11 - $13
R22 (Freon)$20 - $50

R134A Price per Pound

R134A is an R22 replacement coolant that is 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 Price

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 that is damaging to 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 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 (global warming potential).

R410A Cost per Pound

Otherwise known as Puron, R410-A, is the most popular type of coolant. R410A price per pound, or Puron refrigerant cost per pound, ranges between $4 and $10. 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 are made to use R410A coolant. More and more AC units started using R410A instead of R22 starting in 2010.

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 407C prices range between $5 and $7 per pound. R407A 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 Price

Though several R22 refrigerant replacements are available on the market 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 Price

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 Price

Like many of the coolant options mentioned above, 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 or 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 such option for residential and commercial air conditioning systems.

R427A Refrigerant Price

R427A coolant is a replacement for R22. The average cost of R427A coolant per pound is $10 to $11. It features very similar pressures and capacity as traditional R22 Freon, with even better efficiency than most R22 retrofits. R427A is well-suited to both 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. The cost to fill freon in home with RS44B refrigerant is 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.

Freon Cost per Pound

Due to its high efficiency in residential and commercial spaces, R22 has been Americans’ 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 $20 and $50. 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 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.

AC Refrigerant Replacement Cost

It is not uncommon for AC units to have leaks, making refrigerant replacement necessary. The amount of Freon that needs replacing depends on how big of a leak you have, what type of coolant your system uses, and who is completing the service. A full Freon replacement cost will be much higher than a regular recharge due to a small leak. The full cost to replace refrigerant in an AC unit is $100 to $1,800 based on the type of coolant, unit, and length of refrigerant lines. The home AC refrigerant recharge that still runs on R22 is even more expensive, given the lower supply of R22 coolant that is available. Replacing R22 coolant costs $90 to $150 per pound.

Cost to replace the refrigerant in a 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, and 5-ton AC

Cost to replace the refrigerant in a 1, 1.5, 2, 2.5, 3, 4, and 5-ton AC

AC SizeFreon 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

Freon Recovery Cost

Because Freon recovery is necessary whenever an AC unit is being disposed of or opened to undergo repairs, it is a fairly common service. The three main methods of refrigerant recovery 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.

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R22 to R410A Conversion Cost

The production and importation of R22 were banned in 2020. Therefore, some homeowners may be tempted to convert their AC units from R22 to another replacement refrigerant, like R410A. R22 to R410A. However, conversion costs can be quite high, with some estimates ranging from $2,000 to $4,500. Although it is possible to pay a professional to convert your R22 AC unit to R410A or another replacement refrigerant, it can be a risky and costly process that may not pay off in the long run. R410A coolant runs at a higher pressure than classic R22 coolant. To convert, it would be necessary to flush your lines, change your units, metering device, condenser, and more for a smooth transition. All things considered, it may be more prudent to invest in an updated unit than to try and convert R22 to R410A refrigerant.

AC Technicians checking refrigerant levels

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

Amount of refrigerant needed in lbs. for 1, 1.5, 2.5, 3, 4, and 5-ton AC

TonsAmount of Refrigerant 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 may find the banning of R22 to be an inconvenience, there’s no denying that there are plenty of other Freon alternatives on the market today. In fact, coolants like R454B, R466A, and R470A are suitable choices for anyone seeking an efficient replacement for their Freon home AC unit. The following information will provide an in-depth look at other Freon alternatives than those mentioned above.

  • R454B. R454B coolant is a replacement for R410A coolant. The advantage of R454B is its lower GWP level that 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.
  • R466A. Developed in 2018, 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 June 2022, it is still unavailable to homeowners.
  • 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 a more environmentally-friendly option. 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

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 freon leaks that require AC repair commonly happen. The most common one is the evaporator coil, but it can also occur in the condenser coil, line set, or the freon valve. Some parts only require a simple repair, while others must be replaced entirely. However, fixing a freon 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 converting 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.

FAQs

  • 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 will 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.

  • How much is AC refrigerant per pound?

R22 freon for an AC unit costs $20 to $50 per pound because it is no longer being produced. The R410A freon for a home AC unit will cost from $4 to $10 per pound.

  • 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 such problems as the unit running, but the house never gets cold, ice appears on the refrigerant lines, a hissing sound starts coming from the refrigerant line, or warm air is coming 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.

Remodeling Terms Cheat Sheet

Definitions in laymen's terms, cost considerations, pictures and things you need to know.
See full cheat sheet.
1 Freon: A brand name for the types of refrigerant commonly used in air conditioning systems. It is also often used as simply another word for "refrigerant"
2 Heat pump: A device used to heat or cool the air in a home by moving hot and cold air to where it is needed. The unit pulls hot air from inside the home in the summer and directs it outdoors, leaving the inside air cool, and pulls heat from outdoors in the winter and directs it into the home, thereby warming it
glossary term picture Thermostat 3 Thermostat: A device that senses and regulates temperature by turning heating and cooling devices on and off

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