Maintaining your air conditioner could cost you a lot more this summer, according to some industry leaders.
Most AC units still run on Freon, the refrigerant, that keeps your house cool. Now it's being phased out.
"If we have another summer like last summer that was so hot. You have to have Freon. You can't go without it," said Janice Luce, a homeowner.
Luce's air conditioner is getting it's annual check-up to make sure she has enough Freon to keep her house cool all summer. As units get older, they tend to leak and the repair cost is firing up some homeowners.
"Groceries are up. Everything is going up and when you are on a fixed income, you don't have that extra money," said Luce.
We surveyed five heating and cooling companies, who all say, their prices have doubled for a type of Freon known as R-22. It's common in older units.
"The majority of the units out there, probably 90 percent of them are the old R-22," said Raj Rai, of WeatherKing Heating and Air Conditioning in Ohio.
The government is phasing it out, with production stopping completely in 2020. The EPA still has not made a final determination on how much refrigerant will be available in 2012.
The EPA sent a statement saying they have data suggesting there is still an ample supply. However, they also admit, they're aware prices have risen.
"So for example, let's say today you filled up your gas tank at $3.50 per gallon, and the next time you go to fill it up again next week, it's $7 a gallon. That's exactly what's happened with Freon," said Rai.
Last year it cost $30, this year it could be $60 or $120, depending on who or when you're buying it from. That's why you need to shop around and do the math.
If you want to know if your air conditioner is affected by this, check the sticker on the unit. If you have a newer unit that says R410A, the shortage will not affect you. If you have an older unit that says R-22, be prepared to pay more this summer.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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