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How to Decide Whether to Replace or Repair an Air Conditioner – Part 2

As discussed in Part 1, summer will be arriving soon, and it may be time to decide to repair or replace your faulty HVAC unit. Part 2 will cover refrigerants and other factors to consider. Remember to talk to an experienced and licensed electrician before starting this project.


An A/C unit needing more refrigerant is a strong indication of a coolant leak. A fill up of an air conditioner with R-22 refrigerant, also called Freon, will be an expense of $40 to $175 per pound, with the services included. Expert HVAC technicians estimate that repairing a leak and replacing several pounds of refrigerant can cost between $500 and $1,000. 

An R-22 A/C unit that is leaking should be replaced. After the development of a leak, the air conditioner’s compressor, costing up to $2,000 to replace, will eventually stop working. The repair of a leak, additional refrigerant, and a compressor replacement can end up with a price tag equal to a brand new, entry unit.

In the meantime, the cost of R-22 refrigerant has dramatically risen the past few years because it is being phased out by the EPA. In 2010, HVAC makers ceased the production of units utilizing R-22, and the manufacturing of R-22 itself is to end by 2020.

The EPA has approved R-410A as a replacement due to its improved environmental qualities. As a result of its shrinking supply, the cost of R-22 refrigerant will gradually increase.

Other Factors

Think about the frequency of repairs of your existing air conditioner. Another factor is if your utility bills are growing greatly during the summer months. The EPA estimates that a new, energy-efficient HVAC unit, which can cost around $3,500-$7,000, will result in savings of up to 20%. Also evaluate the effectiveness of your HVAC’s cooling abilities during a heat wave. The 5,000 Rule mentioned in Part 1 is applicable here when making a repair/replace decision. However, professionals advise against replacement if your existing unit does not have leaks and if your utility bills are reasonable.

Electrical Services You Can Trust

Founded in 1991, Meyer Electrical Services provides home and commercial electrical services in Maryland, Virginia, and D.C., where we are licensed and insured. Based in Bethesda, our team proudly serves all of Montgomery County. Receive a free consultation for custom electrical work today by calling (301) 941-1400.