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Older air conditioners face mounting repair costs

PHOENIX — Repairs to older air-conditioning units could cost double this summer.

Blame a federal phase-out of freon R-22.

The Environmental Protection Agency has required production of the ozone-threatening hydrochlorofluorocarbon be cut 90 percent by 2015 and stop completely by 2020.

“The industry wasn’t on pace to meet that standard so the EPA went ahead and doubled the price of R-22 this year,” said Erik Bryan, owner of Precision Air and Heating. “Because the cost of the freon doubled, our repair costs had to double.”

To determine if a unit is affected, check its sticker. Newer units rely on R-4-10-A refrigerant that is more environmentally friendly and efficient.

In the long run, it might be better to replace an air conditioner that runs on R-22, Bryan said.