You need a new A/C unit because yours has lost refrigerant, and since it’s old and uses the R-22 refrigerant, it doesn’t make sense to add more because R-22 is really, really expensive.” A/C service technicians are telling this to many home owners, and property and facility managers. R-22, which was the standard for many years, was determined harmful to the environment and is no longer manufactured, so the price of R-22 is now very high.
This has created a perfect storm for A/C manufacturers and HVAC service companies. A HVAC service call involving the insertion of more refrigerant that use to cost the homeowner a couple hundred dollars now results in a proposal for a new system at a cost of $4/5,000. The price for replacing units in commercial properties and facilities is much higher. Property and facility managers have known for a long time this situation was coming, but most homeowners haven’t so they are surprised.
The new systems use refrigerants, such as R-410A, that are better for the environment and are more efficient. This might soften the shock a bit for some homeowners.