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New Regulations Raise The Cost Of Keeping Cool

PITTSBURGH (KDKA) - If you need to have coolant added to your air conditioner this summer, brace yourself.

You might be in for a shock because the price of staying cool is about to go up.

Scorching temperatures and high humidity have made air conditioning a necessity this summer. However, a small leak could have you losing your cool.

A broken air conditioner will equal big bucks thanks to new regulations regarding coolant.

"The older models use a Freon that is not going to be available in a few years and because of that production of that Freon has reduced causing the price to go up. So, if you have to replace the Freon in an older model you are likely to pay more this year," Angie Hicks from Angie's List said.

The Environmental Protection Agency has called for 90 percent of Freon to be phased out by 2015 and it will be obsolete by 2020.

However, phasing it out comes with a cost for consumers.

"Adding some refrigerant or Freon last year might have been $150 dollars depending on the size of the leak. This year, it's easily $300," Boehmer Heating and Cooling Owner Steve Boehmer said.

At Boehmer Heating and Cooling, technicians have been busy this summer adding coolant and making repairs to broken air conditioners. Customers are shocked at the cost to keep cool.

"It's always a surprise, especially when you have a breakdown. You're not expecting to have that kind of a repair bill," Boehmer said.

Most air conditioners made before 2010 use the coolant that's being phased out, so you may want to consider getting a new air conditioning unit, especially if yours is old and leaky.

"Anything over 10 to 15 years old that uses the old refrigerants. Some coils aren't made anymore to replace after a leak so you have to go with a new piece of equipment," John Grivna said.

New energy efficient units can pay off in the long-run and save you money by reducing your energy use by up to 50 percent.


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