Greetings folks! Another month is nearly wrapped up and we are slowly inching towards spring. We’ve got a few more hard weeks here in Kansas but I’m looking forward to the day when I can start planting some trees.
I’m writing this article today as I was informed of more volatility in refrigerant pricing. Even though we’re only two months in, 2019 is certainty turning out to be an interesting year. In late fall early winter I always take the time to do my refrigerant pricing prediction articles. In these articles I do my best to predict what prices will be the following year by weighing a variety of factors and considerations. Some years I miss and other years I hit the mark. It looks like this year is going to be a miss.
Towards the beginning of January a notification went out to various refrigerant distributors from two refrigerant manufacturers. I cannot and will not names here, but the notification stated that there would be a six percent increase on your everyday refrigerant including R-134a, R-410A, and R-22. I had assumed that this increase would be the start of a trend of upward momentum for the year. I was wrong, very wrong.
What surprised me is that prices are going down and down. They are at levels I haven’t seen in years. Let’s take a look:
R-134A – Thirty Pound Cylinder Pricing:
- Fall 2017 – $140
- Fall 2018 – $85
- Jan 2019 – $88
- Feb 2019 – $70
Most people had thought we had reached the bottom of the barrel when it came to R-134a pricing. This was especially the case when that notification was sent out in January stating that prices were going up. People were used to paying around $90-$100 a cylinder.
This new price of $70 is the lowest I have seen in years. In fact it’s close to where it was when I used to buy R-134a in bulk back in 2008. Back then I was paying around $61-$65… but that was before tariffs. I am really amazed to see the price back to almost pre-tariff levels. Who knows how much lower it will go.
R-410A – Twenty-Five Pound Cylinder Pricing:
- Fall 2017 – $140
- Fall 2018 – $65
- Jan 2019 – $68
- Feb 2019 – $56
Just like R-134a, R-410A is going down and down. At this point it’s difficult to forecast what will happen. I honestly don’t know folks. Will we keep going down, or will we start creep back up as the summer season sets in?
R-22 – Thirty Pound Cylinder Pricing:
- Fall 2017 – $550
- Fall 2018 – $350
- Jan 2019 – $410
- Feb 2019 – $300 or Under
Obviously, the big story here is R-22. There are only ten months left until R-22 is completely phased out across the United States (January 1st, 2020). Everyone had assumed that the price would go up and up as we approached closer to that deadline. What actually happened is that we saw a spike in pricing hit in the summer of 2017. At certain points it was $600-$700 a cylinder. However, in 2018 the price started to go down and down.
There could be a resurgence in pricing as the summer season sets in and people began to realize that R-22 will be going away. But, we may also have just too much overstock in the market place which is causing prices to stay low.
The refrigerant market is anything but stable this year folks. It is tough to tell when the right time to buy is. You don’t want to get stuck with overpriced product but you also want the opportunity to buy low and sell high. Time will only tell. It’s as much as a guessing game for you as it is for me.
If you are interested in purchasing refrigerant please check out our bulk refrigerants page by clicking here. We are partnered with one of the leading distributors in the country and will get you a competitive price in today’s marketplace.