Hello folks and welcome to RefrigerantHQ! Before I get into the cost of Freon in this article I first want to take sometime and explain to you where the word Freon comes from and how it is used today. The term Freon is used throughout the country and the world. You see it on the news when people are discussing the price of refrigerant. You see it when irresponsible kids try to ‘huff Freon.’ You may even here your neighbors say it. Over the years the term Freon has become synonymous to the term refrigerant. Well, at least to those outside of the industry. To those of us within the industry we know that Freon does not mean the refrigerant that everyone else thinks it does.
Let me explain. The term ‘Freon,’ is actually a brand name. It is a brand name that the DuPont, now Chemours company, owns. The name was branded and trademarked back in the 1930’s on a new classification of refrigerants known as CFCs and HCFCs. These new refrigerants from the 1930’s were the first mainstream refrigerant to be used across the world. The most common ones out these were your R-12, R-502, and R-22. Nowadays these ‘Freon’ refrigerants have been phased out across the world. The only one you can still find is R-22 and that was phased out entirely on January 1st, 2020.
When we hear the term Freon we have to think of it like other brand names. For example, if you were thirsty and wanted a soda would you say that you want a Coke or would you say you want a soda? The Coke is the brand name of the soda, whereas the soda is the generic name that applies to all the various sodas out there. So, using this analogy Freon is to Coke as refrigerant is to soda. So, if you have an HVAC technician come out to your house and you tell him that your unit is low on Freon he may smirk or chuckle to himself. This is because your unit most likely doesn’t take Freon. It should be called refrigerant each and every time. This is a generic name that everyone knows what you’re talking about.
So, What Kind of Refrigerant Do I Need?
Ok, so now that we’ve got that out of the way let’s look into the pricing of the various refrigerants. In this article we are going to provide you with links to our various price per pound articles for 2020. These are various articles here and that leads me to my first point. You may be under the misconception that there is only one kind of refrigerant. In fact there are hundreds of different refrigerants out there. If you look at this list from Wikipedia you can see exactly what I am talking about. While that list may seem a little overwhelming, I do have some good news.
Out of that large list of refrigerants there are only a select few that are widely used in today’s world. A good portion of the refrigerants in that listing have been phased out over the years for a variety of reasons. They could have been toxic, flammable, Ozone damaging, or global warming damaging. When it comes to repairing an appliance or vehicle in 2020 the number of refrigerants that your appliance could take are significantly lessened.
As I was saying above, there are a select few refrigerants that your appliance are using in 2020. In fact, there are five main refrigerants that you are going run into over and over again. They are your HCFC R-22, HFC R-410A, HFC R-404A, HFC R-134a, and the HFO R-1234yf. This definitely makes it easier to identify what refrigerant you need. But, in an effort to make it even simpler let’s take a deeper look:
- Automotive Application – Nowadays nearly every vehicle is using R-134a refrigerant for their vehicles. In recent years a new refrigerant known as HFO-1234yf is being used on newer models. If you car is a few years old or brand new then you will need to check if it takes 1234yf or not. Otherwise you are fairly safe to assume that your car is taking R-134a. For those of you who are into restoring classic cars you’ll find that you may end up needing R-12 Freon.
- Home or Commercial Air Conditioner – These ones can be a little tricky. Depending on when you got your unit you most likely either have an R-22 unit or a R-410A unit. As I said in previous articles, R-22 was phased out in 2010 for new air conditioners. R-410A has been around since 2000, but it’s popularity didn’t really take off until the 2010 deadline hit for R-22. When it comes to cost though you better hope you have a R-410A unit rather than R-22. The difference in price between the two refrigerants is astonishing.
- Refrigerators and Freezers (Home and Commercial) – The go to refrigerant for these applications has been R-404A. There are some other alternatives out there such as CO2 (R-744), R-502, and some other new HFO refrigerants coming out soon but today if you were having to recharge one of these you are most likely going to run into 404A.
Ok folks, so after reading the above section you should have a very good idea on what kind of refrigerant that your appliance or vehicle takes. That being said, never guess as to what kind of refrigerant your system needs. That my friends is a recipe for disaster. You cannot mix refrigerants with other refrigerants. If you do so you will permanently damage your system. Think of it like putting diesel into a gas vehicle. You shouldn’t do it. You have to know what refrigerant your system takes before anything else can be done.
In recent years there have been pushes to phase out some of these refrigerants. In fact, R-22 is going away entirely on January 1st, 2020. Other refrigerants such as the HFC classifications may end up being phased out fairly soon. If you happen to see a refrigerant that your appliance is using and that it is NOT in this list please reach out to me and I will do some research and get it added to this listing.
Thanks for reading,