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Question DetailsAsked on 7/31/2016

Contractor wants to charge $377 to recharge my heat pump system with about 3lbs of 410a here in Washington state.

They found a leak and quoted me a recharge price. Would like to know if that's a fair price. The other option was to completely flush and charge the system from empty for $800.00. 7-10lbs. Sounds steep to me.

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1 Answer


Sounds high to me too.

Here is an AL article on that question -

Current prices (based on a quick price check from a couple of sources) for R-22 (Freon) are about $25-40/lb in the standard residential contractor sized (25#) bottles - $6-20/lb for R-410a.

However, I have heard/read of contrator pricing as high as $200/# for Freon and $150/lb for R-410a, withr charges more commonly in the $35-50/lb for R-410a and $50-100/lb for Freon. Granted, the higher range prices sometimes include the service charge (commonly $100-150) for the labor to do the refill and operational pressure test, but still - some contractors are REALLY cranking up the profit - sounds like your contractor is in the $60-70/lb range if you figure a $150 labor charge ($200 say for the flushing and refill) being included in those numbers, so not grossly high when you figure some charge $100-200, and probably right in the normal range if you are talking Freon (R-22).

You can always contact other contractors about their charge for a refill.

One thing you did NOT say - did he fix the leak ? If not, assuming a significant leak (more than a pounds or two every say 5 or more years) refilling the system without fixing it is not only illegal but also throwing your money away. Plus if the system gets very low on gas and you don't notice the difference in sound from the compressor as it starts running out of gas (which provides cooling for it as well as moving the lubricating oil around), you can trash the compressor by letting it run out of gas.

As for the complete flush and recharge - some manufacturers recommend that every 5-10 years to remove debris and any scorched lubricant circulating in the system and refresh the system, others say nothing about it and count on the filter/drier to remove undesireable materials from the system. Personally I would recommend it at 10 years or so, particularly if it can be timed to coincide with recharging due to leakoff - most systems don't last 20 years these days so a 20 year flush and recharge is irrelevant in most cases.

Also on the flush - many long-time more reputable contractors will refuse to take the gas removed fro the system and put it back into the system, saying why remove likely contaminated product and put it back into a newly cleaned system. That makes sense unless they are up to the times and have a gas filtering attachment on their gas recovery system, so they can filter the gas (as a gas, not a liquid) down to clean gas - but that requires a filter unit with a compressor to recompress the gas to fill the system to pressure, which is an expense many contractors do not make so they send the gas to reclamation (if obeying the law anyway) and put in new gas. The unit cost $3000-5000, so a bit investment if a small company, as opposed to the $1000- cost for just a gas recovery unit to sent it to reclaim.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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