Freon plays an important role in keeping your house cool during the warmer months.
It’s a non-combustible gas that works with your air conditioner to keep your house cold.
At some point, you’ll likely need to buy more freon to top your air conditioner off.
You may discover that the price for freon is quite high.
Why Is Freon So Expensive? (10 Reasons)
The average cost of Freon is $125 to $150 a pound.
The larger your air conditioner, the costs involved with making Freon, and the fact that the government is phasing out Freon all mean that you can expect a high price on Freon.
Let’s look at these reasons in more detail.
1. Phased Out
The United States government intends to phase out Freon completely by 2030.
The decision to phase out Freon came from the Montreal Protocol.
During that meeting, several countries made the decision and agreement to reduce, and eventually stop, the production of certain products that damage the ozone layer.
Freon has shown that it’s capable of damaging the ozone layer.
Once they made the decision, the United States government laid out a plan for all manufacturers of Freon and Freon-dependent manufacturers.
Over the next few decades, those companies would need to produce an alternative to Freon that did not damage the ozone layer.
They would then need to report their findings to makers of products that also use Freon.
Air conditioners are one of the primary products that use Freon.
They need to also come up with a system that uses an alternative to Freon to cool homes.
The reason that this makes Freon expensive is that it reduces how much Freon is available in the market.
Companies want to ensure that they’re making money off the next big thing.
They don’t want to keep producing a product that isn’t going to make them money in the long run.
As such, they may produce even less Freon than the government expected.
This ends up creating a shortage of the available Freon on the market.
Since a lot of homeowners still have air conditioners that use Freon, they’re reliant on the limited supply of Freon to get them through.
With less Freon available on the market but still a high demand for it, the price of Freon becomes expensive.
Freon is expensive because it’s getting phased out of the market.
2. Rising Steel Prices
Another factor that’s causing the price of Freon to increase is the rise in steel prices.
Steel prices have fluctuated ever since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
Prices got extremely high, sometimes over $1,000 a ton, but they are starting to slowly come down.
That said, the price of steel is quite high compared to what people might like it to be.
There are a few reasons behind the high price of steel.
The biggest one is demand.
A lot of states are looking to get started with infrastructure projects after delaying them during the pandemic.
The pandemic shut down many plans for road construction, developing buildings, and other projects.
With the pandemic waning and businesses opening up once more, demand is high for steel and other construction-related equipment.
The housing industry also added to the demand for steel.
Carpenters needed steel to build new homes quickly since a lot of people were out shopping for new homes.
A lack of inventory also contributed to the increase in price.
Normally, the price might rise a little bit with high demand because most steel producers have enough inventory to meet it.
That wasn’t the case thanks to the pandemic.
A lot of refineries shut down or reduced their worker capacity.
This ended up creating a bottleneck in supply.
They couldn’t get enough products out to satisfy demand.
They’re still playing catch-up.
This impacts the price of Freon because Freon uses a special type of steel container for its housing.
Without that housing, Freon isn’t safe to transport.
Since Freon manufacturers have to spend more on those canisters, they have to raise the price of Freon.
Freon is expensive because steel canisters are more expensive to buy.
3. Reduced Manufacturing
A major reason why Freon is expensive is that a lot of businesses have stopped producing it.
To ensure that they’re able to stay on track with the EPA’s goal of stopping the production of Freon by 2030, many companies have simply stopped producing it already.
They’re focused on the alternative to Freon.
This becomes a problem for those who need Freon because they’re only able to get it from a few companies now.
Even those companies have limited capacity.
This makes Freon expensive for a few reasons.
The first is the simple lack of supply in the market.
Since several companies have stopped producing Freon, supplying the country’s needs for it falls on the few remaining companies.
With high demand and low supply, companies can charge high prices for the Freon that does exist.
Another reason this impacts the price of Freon is that it means there’s little competition.
Beforehand, there were quite a few companies that produced Freon.
Because there were a fair number of them, they had to compete with each other.
Competition forces companies to lower their prices.
Since customers usually choose the lower price, it forces each company to lower its prices to attract customers to them.
That isn’t the case anymore with Freon.
With only a handful of companies now producing Freon, they don’t have as much pressure to lower their prices.
They can keep them high since the demand is there.
Customers don’t have nearly as many other options from which to choose.
Freon is expensive because there are only a few companies currently producing it.
4. Transportation Costs
Another factor that makes Freon expensive is transportation costs.
Freon can be dangerous in the wrong hands.
It needs careful storage to ensure it arrives at its destination safely.
That usually means that carriers have to invest a good amount of money to ensure their trucks are able to carry Freon.
If the trucks aren’t properly equipped, carriers could have a serious problem on their hands.
The biggest threat that Freon poses is asphyxiation.
It sucks up the oxygen in a space and makes it impossible to breathe.
Should a spill occur, then it can become dangerous very quickly.
That’s why transporters must have high-quality containers to hold the canisters safely.
If an accident does occur, then they need special training to deal with the spill.
That usually means that their employers need to pay them more money.
Since it’s expensive to transport Freon, it adds to the cost of buying it for the consumer.
The distance from the Freon’s location to your location also plays a role.
If the supplier is far away, then it’s going to cost them more money to deliver the Freon to you.
As a result, they’re going to charge you more for that service.
Even miscellaneous costs like fuel prices and truck maintenance can impact the price.
If fuel costs are high, then it’s going to be even more expensive to deliver the Freon to your home.
Freon is expensive because transporting it can be dangerous and expensive.
5. Labor Costs
Freon is also expensive because of the labor costs associated with it.
Freon is dangerous to make.
Because it can suffocate people when spilled, manufacturers must have expensive insurance policies to protect themselves.
Should a workplace injury occur, they need to have insurance available to cover those costs.
Expensive insurance policies add to the cost of manufacturing Freon.
As such, you end up paying for those costs whenever you buy their Freon.
Because it’s dangerous, it also means that the factory has to entice workers to work there.
Most workers don’t want to work in a factory that’s dangerous if they’re not getting paid well for it.
The risk isn’t worth it.
Freon companies make it worth it by paying higher salaries.
However, since workers earn more, it means that the manufacturer’s cost of operations is higher.
To cover those costs, the manufacturer puts a high price on its Freon.
Freon is expensive because the customer has to cover labor and operational costs.
6. Can’t Replace Freon Yourself
When you need to buy Freon, you’re not just buying Freon.
You’re also buying the service of having Freon replaced in your air conditioner.
While, technically, you can try to replace the Freon yourself, it isn’t recommended.
Some states may even make it illegal.
That’s because they know how dangerous Freon can be in inexperienced hands.
As such, when your air conditioner needs its Freon replaced, you’ll need to order the service along with the Freon.
The high price of Freon combined with the high service charges is what makes Freon expensive.
This service is expensive for a few reasons.
The first is that it means the air conditioning company is one of the few who were able to get their hands on Freon.
They probably had to pay a high price just to do that.
That means they’re looking to cover their costs with each Freon refill.
Freon is also dangerous.
Since the worker is taking on some risk to their health—if not their life—by performing the service, they need ample compensation.
That also adds to the price of Freon.
Because of its danger, most companies use experienced technicians to perform the service.
They know how to handle Freon and refill it safely.
Experienced workers tend to get paid more than inexperienced workers.
That also adds to the price of the service.
Finally, the process takes a bit of time.
The technician has to arrive at your home, check the Freon, ensure everything else is working correctly, then finally refill the Freon chamber.
Then they need to put everything together again.
Since the service takes a bit of time, some companies might charge you by the hour instead of a flat fee.
If so, then you could end up paying even more for your Freon refill service.
Freon is expensive because you’re paying for the materials and the service.
7. Older Air Conditioners Need More Expensive Freon
Another reason Freon is expensive is that some air conditioners require even more expensive types of Freon than others.
Older air conditioners tend to use more expensive varieties of Freon because that’s what was around when they made the air conditioner.
While a lot of people call all types of refrigerant “Freon,” Freon is actually a brand name.
There are several types of refrigerants.
Older air conditioners use a more expensive type of refrigerant than others.
One of the reasons why it’s more expensive is that older Freon versions are even rarer in the market than slightly newer versions of Freon.
There are even fewer producers of older refrigerant types than the newer types.
Since the supply is lower but demand is still there, the price for it increases.
Also, because those air conditioners tend to be older, it usually means the service to replace the Freon is more expensive.
It requires more skill and knowledge to replace Freon in older air conditioners since they’re not as common.
New technicians tend to get trained on whatever air conditioner models are currently in production.
All those factors end up making Freon more expensive for older air conditioners.
8. Size Of Air Conditioner
It isn’t just the age of your air conditioner that can impact your Freon price either.
The size of your air conditioner also plays a role.
If you have a large air conditioner, then you can expect to pay more for your Freon.
That’s because you’re going to need more of it.
Larger air conditioners have bigger Freon chambers.
They use more Freon because they usually have to cool a larger home or building.
Since the building uses more Freon, it means that the homeowner needs to pay for more Freon than someone who lives in a smaller home.
When you pay for Freon, you pay by the pound.
Larger air conditioners require more pounds of Freon than smaller ones.
As such, Freon becomes expensive when you need a lot of it to refill your large air conditioner.
The climate in which you live can also play a role in the price of Freon.
If you live in a hot climate, for example, then you can expect to pay more for Freon.
That’s because the demand for Freon is likely higher in your area.
To contend with the heat, a lot of homeowners and landlords will need air conditioning.
When it’s hot, most people end up using more air conditioning.
Because the air conditioner is on longer, it’s using more Freon.
As a result, the HVAC unit needs Freon refills more often.
Demand for Freon in warmer areas is high.
Freon is expensive when you live in a hot climate with a high demand for Freon refills.
10. Anti-Dumping Tariffs
A final reason Freon is expensive is because of the anti-dumping tariffs that the government has placed on certain countries.
They discovered that China had been selling certain varieties of refrigerant at prices below market value.
They undercut American manufacturers and made it impossible for them to compete with Chinese companies.
The act of selling a foreign product under market value is called “dumping.”
To correct the market and give American manufacturers a chance to sell their own products, the government has instituted an anti-dumping tariff on refrigerant sales from China.
This means any refrigerant that comes from China is going to be more expensive.
It has a high tariff on it.
This makes Freon expensive because it means there isn’t a black market that sells cheap refrigerants anymore.
At least not one that’s readily available.
Freon is expensive because of anti-dumping tariffs.
Freon is a vital part of air conditioners since it absorbs heat and keeps homes and buildings cool.
However, getting an air conditioner refilled with Freon is expensive.
The factors listed above are some of the reasons why Freon is so expensive.