When the air conditioning does not cool, it is most likely due to a pressure drop in the gas chamber, so recharging this consumable is more common than you might imagine. However, the cost of this maintenance may surprise some users.
Why do you have to charge the air conditioner?
Air conditioning gas does not “use up” or “deplete” over time. This element remains static inside the chamber, since its requirement is to be at an adequate pressure for the effect to occur.
Therefore, when an air conditioner has a low gas level, it is because there is a leak, either in the tank itself or in some section of the pipes. Because of this, before recharging, the leak must first be found and repaired.
What are fluorinated gases?
F-Gases are a type of artificially created gas for commercial and domestic use. This is obtained by combining Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), Perfluorocarbons (PFCs) and Sulfur Hexafluoride (SF6), among other elements.
It is mainly used in the refrigeration and air conditioning sector, thanks to its ability to maintain temperatures, hence it is the element that accompanies cooling appliances, such as air conditioners.
F-Gases for Air Conditioning Charge
Fluorinated gases for air conditioning are a series of refrigerant gases created especially for such purposes and depending on the capacity of the equipment, one or the other must be used for recharging:
R410A: Comes from a mixture of difluoromethane (R32) and pentafluoroethane (R125); two types of hydrofluorocarbon gases.
R404A: The combination to obtain this type of gas is pentafluoroethane (R125) with tetrafluoroethane (R134A) and trifluoroethane (R143A).
R407C: This type can replace R22 and has difluoromethane (R32), pentafluoroethane (R125) and tetrafluoroethane (R134A).
R134A: It is a pure HFC refrigerant gas. It also works as a substitute for R12 in modern equipment.
Substitute gases to recharge the air conditioning
The substitute gases in the air conditioning recharge are new alternatives to the previous ones, capable of generating the same effect with a minimum of energy in comparison and are the following:
R424A: Presents a mixture of tetrafluoroethane (R134A), pentafluoroethane (R125), iso-pentane, butane and iso-butane.
R417A: It is obtained by combining tetrafluoroethane (R134A), pentafluoroethane (R125) and butane.
These types of gases are being used more and more to replace those mentioned above, given that many establishments in different places are adhering to environmental protection laws that dictate the use of refrigerants with lower GWP levels (Atmospheric Warming Potential).
Aspects that influence the charging price of the air conditioner
The gas load of the air conditioning can be influenced by several factors that must be analyzed in detail, to determine if the price offered is in accordance with what is stipulated:
Since there are several types of gases to recharge the AC, you cannot ignore that each one has its respective price and this can vary even more if it is a standard type or a substitute.
When considering the cost of an air conditioner gas refill, it stands to reason that the larger the compressor, the more gas you will need. Therefore, domestic models will be cheaper to recharge than commercial ones.
Tax on fluorinated gas
The tax on fluorinated gas is applied depending on the level of PCA in the refrigerant that is being used, so this value will vary depending on the type of gas used.
Since it is not possible to check the pressure level with the air conditioning control or with other function of the equipment, you must take into account that an air conditioning charging machine is needed to be able to do the job, which also needs to be paid with each technician visit.
Approximate cost of a gas refill in Spain
As you can see, it is not as simple as going to buy R410A gas at the store and filling the AC tank. This equipment can be really complex, which is why this type of maintenance is usually done by professionals.
Being in a scenario in which maintenance is needed on a domestic air conditioner in a rest room, the cost could be considered based on the fact that the standard refrigerant gas has an approximate price of 10 euros per kilo.
This type of AC usually needs 1 kilogram of gas and the labor should be around 40 to 50 euros, depending on the area.
In addition to this, we must not forget that R410A is one of the most common and it has a PCA of 1,975, so the tax granted will be 39.50 euros per kilo of gas.
Considering all the data, expenses and the approximate time of the task, a maintenance of this type could easily be around 80 and 100 euros and even more, if the AC is of ample capacity.
In case you do not have much experience in recharging air conditioning, we strongly encourage you to seek the help of a professional technician to take care of the task, since it is impossible to recover the gas from the air conditioning that has already been used.
We also advise you to consider substituting R410A for R32, since this type of gas offers better energy efficiency and, in the long run, will be able to take better advantage of the equipment’s cooling performance.
In this sense, being the cost of 10 euros for R410A gas, a cheap price compared to that of the substitutes, it is more practical to use. However, you must be aware of the regulations to avoid a legal incidence.
On the other hand, buying cheap R134A gas could make R410A completely banned because it can do practically the same job, consuming less resources.