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Question DetailsAsked on 9/12/2016

How much it cost to put a new refrigerant line on central AC

My central AC not cooling and I called HVAC guy who said there is a leak in line and gave me a quote for $1175 includes 50 feet of line set and 6 LBS 410A freon. I checked the amazon sells R410A 25lbs for $150 but the HVAc guy quoted me $60/lb, is this right.

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R410a is the newer replacement for Freon, which is R-22. (Each type of refrigerant gas has its own unique numeric or numeria and alpha code - R-22 (most common tradename Freon) is the common A/C refrigerant gas being phased out under EPA regulations, R-410a is the most common new A/C unit gas for residential uses - though it can rarely be used in R-22 systems, so generally requires a new system to change to R-410a. There are a few replacement gases out there that can be substituted directly for R-22 in older units - though care needs to be taken as to which lubricating oil is in it because need a compatible lubricant to avoid gumming your unit up - generally mineral oil for R-22 units. Unit should have an identification plate on it saying what the compressor lubricant is.

R-410a wholesales (in 25# or so bottles) for about $5-15/lb - HVAC contractors commonly sell it for about $25-70/lb though can be as high as $120 depending on vendor, and depending on whether he is charging a separate recharge labor/equipment fee or it is all wrapped into the gas charge. And some are overcharging because that is what the market will bear what with people hearing about $100-150/lb charges for R-22 due to its phaseout.

Anyway - $360 for the gas and even if say $125-150 recharge labor that equals about $500 - leaving $675 to replace the lineset, assuming it actually needs replacement rather than just splicing in another piece to replace the holes portion. (Depends on whether failure was due to general corrosion or damage locally).

That sounds fairly high to me unless you are in a very high-cost city area - replacement of maybe 50 feet or so of tubing commonly runs (without gas replacement cost) in the $500 range unless accessis nasty - sometimes only an hour job (plus the gas recharge and test 30-60 minutes) so can be as low as $300-400 in very simple cases with short, easy run to the evaporator. Also depends significantly on whether the connection end of the evaporator is readily accessed or exposed, or it it has to be removed from the ducting to install the new tubing to it.

You could contact other Heating and AC contractors (your Search the List category) and get a couple of other bids for the job for comparison - that is the best way to tell what the "going rate" for your specific job is - just be sure to get bids from well-rated and reviewed contractors so you are not comparing bids from well-rated licensed contractors with a bid from an unlicensed person operating Joe Btfsplk's Junkyard and A/C Repair.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD


The problem is, every time I call someone (HVAC) they are charging a service fee, so I end up paying a service charge for nothing. If I just ask them a quote they say they need to look at it first. Even if I am not happy with a quote I will end up with a service fee. Happy to hear your suggestions on this.

Answered 4 years ago by Yep


Yeah, from what I have read charging for quotes or refusing to do a quote before charging a service charge to look at it is becoming more common - especially in the Northeast, from what i read. There was even a case in our area (not in Northeast) of a "contractor" who turned out to be making his entire living doing bids - charging $250 to do a "bid", which he made sure was always high enough to not actually get the job - so he just went around doing bids all day for an hour or less time, at $250 a pop.

All I can say is maybe google for local HVAC contractors who advertise free bids or free quotes, then cross-check those company names on Angies List for ratings and reviews. There are still a lot of contractors out there who do not charge for a quote for things like that, but you are right that more and more service tech especially are doing so. To a certain extent this is right, because like with appliance repair, diagnosis of the problem is part of the bidding process so they figure they should be paid for that - especially since the customer might take the diagnosis and turn around and then go with another contracctor's lower bid for that work.

Answered 4 years ago by LCD

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