Is your air conditioner worth repairing or replacing?

Is your air conditioner worth repairing or replacing?

AMARILLO, TX - As the price of one type of freon soars through the roof, many are wondering whether it's better to repair or replace their fault air conditioning system.

An EPA mandate is phasing out a refrigerant known as R-22.

Scientists argue it's harmful to the earth's ozone layer.

As more people crank up the AC, that type of freon has become a hot commodity with a hefty price tag.

"R-22 has been the primary refrigerant in a lot of residential homes and commercial businesses," Gary Ward with Gary's Heating and Air said.

The cost of this type of freon, has tripled since January.

The refrigerant is measured in pounds. What would normally cost $20 to $25 per pound, now can run consumers in excess of $80 per pound.

"A small residential unit may have anywhere from 4 to 5 pounds," Ward explained. "However, some residential systems can get up as high as 13 to 15 pounds."

If your system is leaking freon, just the cost of the refrigerant can top $1,000.

Not to mention, consistent leaks could mean you need a compressor replacement.

"It may be cost efficient to just purchase a brand new unit because changing out a compressor to allow for the new type of freon would be four to five times the amount of a new window AC unit," Brad Guidry with Home Depot said.

Window units aren't for everyone, especially homes with large square footage and multiple rooms.

However, Guidry says they can be a bit more efficient, freon wise.

"These units in them have less than 3 pounds of freon in them," he said.

Window AC units can run anywhere from $149 on up.

All units manufactured today, including regular AC cooling systems, now take 410-A refrigerant, the new EPA standard.

"410-A will ultimately be the only refrigerant that's used on residential and commercial refrigerants," Ward said.

Gary's Heating and Air says you can catch a freon leak early by contacting a technician immediately if you notice your home isn't cooling like it should.

Also, if you constantly have an old air conditioning unit that consistently leaks, you should speak with your technician about a replacement.