How Much Does a Home AC Recharge or Refill Cost?

Typical Range:

$200 - $500

Find out how much your project will cost.

Cost data is based on research by HomeAdvisor.

Updated July 20, 2022

Written by HomeAdvisor.

Home AC refrigerant costs an average of $300, or between $200 and $500, for a refill. Your unit might develop a leak and lose refrigerant towards the end of the 15-year average AC service life. Unless it leaks, you should never have to refill it. Only a licensed technician or reseller can purchase a 25-pound tank of r410a for $500. Older larger r22 units can reach $1,000 or more for 25 pounds. 

“Freon” is simply a brand name owned by DuPont chemicals. However, it’s become a generic term for any air conditioning coolant. Older systems used the r22 type of refrigerant, known for depleting the Earth’s ozone layer. As of 2020, it’s no longer legal to import or produce r22 in the United States. All systems installed after 2010 use the alternative r410a refrigerant.

When Do You Need to Recharge Your Home AC Unit?

The only time your system runs low on refrigerant is when it has a leak, so have it inspected and serviced at the same time. Some signs that your system has hit its service life and started to develop leaks (and the inevitable loss of refrigerant) include:

  • Electric bills are higher than normal

  • A hissing sound from your AC unit

  • The indoor coil building frost

  • Heavy condensation forms

  • The air simply blowing out hot rather than cold

Average Cost of Freon per Pound

You’ll pay about $500 for a 25-pound canister of Freon, if you’re a registered technician or reseller. That comes to about $20 per pound. Most systems only need 6 to 12 pounds. 

Older r22 systems can’t use r410a due to pressure differences. So, if you have an old r22 system, your next recharge will cost significantly more since you’re looking to either upgrade or replace your HVAC system.


The current HVAC standard coolant, r410a, costs about $20 per pound. All systems manufactured or installed after 2010 use r410a. The costs fluctuate depending on demand and have risen significantly in recent years. 


As of 2020, you can no longer purchase r22 coolant. It’s becoming nearly impossible to purchase r22.

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AC Recharge Cost Breakdown

A home AC recharge cost breaks down into two main parts, gas and labor. Both combined cost $190 to $390, but you may also want to include leak testing and repair as part of the service to avoid having to do it again.

Leak Testing

Leak testing costs an average of $50 per visit. Typically, your pro wraps this cost into a refill and leak repair, for a total visit price of $450 to $1,400 or more.

Freon Replacement and Disposal

Replacing or recharging your home’s air conditioning refrigerant costs $300 on average. If your unit is older than 2010, you may need a recharge with r22, which means an additional capture and recovery fee of $50 to $150. It’s federally mandated to capture it and dispose of it properly, so it doesn’t damage the environment.


Labor costs $50 to $150 per hour for an HVAC professional. You’ll likely pay more in areas with a high cost of living. Recently, prices for professional technicians have risen, and so have the wait times to get someone to your home. 

Other Repairs

Recharging your home air conditioner runs $300 on average. However, since coolant only escapes with leaks or damage, this service is wrapped into other repairs, like a coil or line replacement.

DIY vs. Hire an HVAC Pro

You must hire a professional to recharge your tanks. Not only does the EPA require the handling of refrigerant only by licensed technicians, they often also need to carefully capture and dispose of any old freon. 

  • As of January 1, 2018, the EPA section 608 of the Clean Air Act requires anyone purchasing or handling home air conditioning refrigerants to have a license.

  • Recharging with the wrong type or incorrectly filling the coolant will ruin your system.

  • If you need a recharge, you probably have a leak. A pro can find and repair or replace the leaking part.

To get the job done right and without costly complications, hire an HVAC professional near you today.

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Frequently Asked Questions

How often do you need to add Freon to a central air conditioning unit?

Modern central AC units should never need a recharge unless they have leaks.

How much does a residential Freon gas refill cost?

Residential Freon gas refills cost anywhere from $200 to $400 or more.

Do all air conditioners need to be recharged?

You shouldn’t need to recharge any air conditioners unless they leak.

What are the different types of refrigerant I can use for my home AC?

The only AC refrigerant you can use for residential purposes is r410a.

How much does AC Freon removal cost?

Home AC Freon removal can cost anywhere from $100 to $300 depending on the professional. The equipment, time, and disposal regulations make the process expensive.

How long does it take to recharge an AC unit?

It takes five to 10 minutes to fill one pound of Freon. You’ll need two to four pounds per ton of AC cooling. Most homes have anywhere from one half ton to five tons. So, a home with three tons needs six to 12 pounds taking about one half to two hours.