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WARNING! Do not let your HVAC contractor add any substitute for R-22 to your system!
The price of R-22 refrigerant has gone way up. This follows the EPA's mandate to phase out R-22. Expect prices for R-22 to be $100.00 or more. But using a cheap replacement refrigerant comes at a greater price.
Cheap replacement refrigerants called "Retrofits" can't just be added to a system that is low on charge. The entire system must be evacuated, with the installation of a new filter drier and possibly new Schrader valves, seals, flush and oil change. This is not inexpensive when done correctly. Replacement manufacturers even suggest that you may loose BTU capacity with their cheaper replacement refrigerants.
NEVER let a contractor "top off" your R-22 system with a cheap replacement. This will mix two different kinds of refrigerants. Mixed refrigerants don't have charging scales. Charging scales are pressure and temperature charts that the technician MUST use to charge your system correctly. If they are not used, your system will be under or overcharged. This will result in poor performance, high utility bills or possibly a damaged compressor.
These cheaper replacement refrigerants are non-azeotropic, meaning that they contain a mixture of different chemicals that boil off at different temperatures. Therefore, when a contractor adds the cheap replacement and ignores the leak. This will cause you even further problems. One of the chemicals will leak out first and cause your system to fail during cooling demand.
Once a contractor adds something other than R-22 or sells you gimmicky leak-stop additives, the damage may be irreversible. Many contractors are charging you for R-22, but adding the cheap refrigerant. Demand that your contractor show you proof that the refrigerant jug is green and is labeled R-22 (as he is using it, not just sitting in the van).