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Hagerstown Heating & Cooling Blog

AC Refrigerant Scams To Be Aware Of


Your home’s air conditioner is a complex piece of machinery and understanding the basics of how it works is something every homeowner should know. It’s especially important to understand refrigerants because common AC scams often revolve around this vital component. 

Refrigerant is the chemical that’s primarily responsible for your AC’s ability to cool your home. With the help of the compressor, condenser, and evaporator, various pressures are imposed on the refrigerant causing it to transform physically between liquid and gas states. As its pressure changes, it absorbs or gives off heat to the air passing over the coils, changing its temperature. This cool, conditioned air is then sent to the rooms of your home.

At Hagerstown Heating & Cooling, not only do we pride ourselves on being an honest and ethical business, but we also firmly believe in educating our customers so they can avoid being the victims of such scams. Let’s discuss common scams that shady HVAC contractors employ involving refrigerants. For honest AC repairs, you can always rely on us. 

Selling Unnecessary Amounts of Refrigerant

Refrigerant is sold by weight, so homeowners should ask to be present when the technicians fill the unit and observe this happening. This will let a potential scammer know that you’re aware of this scam. Ask the technician to weigh the refrigerant jug both before and after pouring to help make sure that you’re not being charged for more than what was received. 

Recharge Scam 

When an AC unit is installed, it has exactly the right amount of refrigerant that it should ever need. The only circumstance when refrigerant needs to be replaced is when there’s a leak somewhere in the system. Adding refrigerant without finding and attempting to repair the leak is breaking Federal Law.

If an AC technician tells you that recharging the refrigerant will solve the problem, this isn’t exactly true. The root of the problem also needs to be addressed, and the source is the leak. If the technician says that all that’s needed is a refrigerant recharge, it’s a ploy for them to come back and “recharge” the system at a later date. 

Being Told an AC that Uses Certain Refrigerants Must Be Replaced

Another common AC scam is being told that your air conditioner has to be replaced due to federal laws and regulations regarding refrigerant. If your AC was installed before 2013, there’s a likelihood that it uses R-22 refrigerant, also known as Freon. 

As of January 1, 2020, the production and import of R-22 refrigerant (also known as HCFC-22) became illegal in the US. That’s why some shady HVAC companies might tell you that it needs to be replaced for legal reasons. However, that’s just not true. You’re allowed to own and use your AC system, you just can’t purchase a new system that uses this type of refrigerant. 

According to the EPA, homeowners “can continue to use air-conditioning (AC) equipment that uses HCFC-22, whether it is a window unit or a central cooling system. EPA does not require homeowners to replace their existing equipment.”

You deserve honest AC repairs that get the job done. That’s why you can always trust us for a thorough explanation of why any repair involving refrigerant is needed from our Super Techs.

At Hagerstown Heating & Cooling, we want to protect customers from Google and other contractors. Honesty at Its Best. 

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