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Air Conditioning Refrigerant Recover Cost

Know what price you should pay to get your vehicle fixed.

The average cost for an air conditioning refrigerant recover is between $35 and $45. Labor costs are estimated between $35 and $45. Estimate does not include taxes and fees.
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What is Air Conditioning Refrigerant Recovery?

Air conditioning systems use various types of refrigerant to cool the interior of the vehicle. It is stored inside of the refrigerant system. When the air conditioning system needs service that involves opening the refrigerant system, the refrigerant must be removed safely to prevent venting to the air we breathe. To accomplish this task, air conditioning refrigerant recovery is performed as a safe means of removing refrigerant from the air conditioning refrigerant system, and placing it into a secondary, external sealed container. The process of recovering, storing, and recharging refrigerant is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure compliance and air quality standards.

How is Air Conditioning Recovery done?

Refrigerant recovery is performed by a licensed technician, certified by the EPA under Section 608, in a repair shop using special equipment to properly monitor, capture, and store the refrigerant.

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When would I need Air Conditioning refrigerant Recovery?

Any time the air conditioning system needs to be disassembled, where components are separated from one another and could allow refrigerant to escape, it is necessary to first empty the system through the process of recovery. Air conditioning refrigerant recovery differs from accidental discharge of refrigerant material. Sometimes, due to a broken air conditioning system component (such as a refrigerant line), or due to damage resulting from a crash, the refrigerant leaks out from the system. Recovery, on the other hand, is the controlled capture of the refrigerant with special equipment to prevent its release into the environment.

Can I drive with Air Conditioner issues?

If the air conditioning system has been emptied - either by way of a damaged component through accidental discharge, or by way of refrigerant recovery - the air conditioner will not operate. A low pressure switch ensures that the AC compressor will not operate if the refrigerant pressure gets too low, as it would if the system were empty. A vehicle without air conditioning can be an inconvenience. It does not present an immediate safety concern. The vehicle can be driven without it. However, the longer the air conditioning system is left empty of refrigerant, the higher the likelihood that moisture will enter the system and compromise the integrity of the components - especially the AC compressor - leading to premature failure.

When is it necessary to recover the refrigerant from my air conditioner?

Recovery is necessary any time that the air conditioning system needs to be "opened," or disassembled. When the AC refrigerant lines are disconnected from other system components (the compressor, condensor, dryer, or evaporator), or from one another, refrigerant will escape forcefully from the system. This is a safety concern, an environmental concern, and a legal concern. Handling and storage of air conditioning refrigerants are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). It is illegal to knowingly discharge refrigerant into the atmosphere. It is also dangerous if the pressurized refrigerant sprays uncontrolled from a line as it is being disconnected.

How are air conditioner refrigerant issues diagnosed?

A technician will use a special set of manifold gauges matched to the specific type of refrigerant in the vehicle to determine how much (if any) pressure is in the air conditioning system. Following a comprehensive evaluation of the entire system and diagnosis of component failure, the technician will use special equipment to evacuate or recover and store the refrigerant. When repairs are complete, the technician will recharge the system with fresh refrigerant, or possibly with the recovered/stored material.

How is recovered refrigerant replaced into the Air Conditioner?

To recover the refrigerant from a vehicle, a licensed and certified technician will connect hoses to both the high and low side connectors on the air conditioning system. The hoses are usually attached to a recovery and recharge machine. With the hoses connected and the hose valves open, the technician will set the machine to slowly remove the refrigerant from the vehicle and store it in a special canister. When the procedure is complete, the technician will verify that the system is indeed empty before proceeding with repairs.

RepairPal Recommendations for Air Conditioner issues

RepairPal recommends that the air conditioning system be serviced by a licensed and certified professional who will use the proper procedures and equipment to recover the refrigerant in a vehicle. A technician must be certified under Section 608 by the EPA in order to lawfully recover, store, purchase, and install refrigerant.

What to look out for when needing Air Conditioning Service

Air conditioning refrigerant is under pressure and can cause severe injury if it escapes during an improper repair/recovery procedure. Different types of refrigerant have been used over the years in vehicles. It is necessary to know what type of refrigerant is used and to have access to the proper equipment for that type of material.

Can I recover Air Conditioning refrigerant myself?

Automotive air conditioning refrigerant recovery should be performed only by a licensed and certified (EPA Section 608) technician using the proper equipment specific to the type of refrigerant being recovered. A professional has the ability to perform a comprehensive evaluation of the entire air conditioning system, diagnose any problems, and complete the appropriate repairs. And a professional will have access to appropriate replacement materials. Some of the products available to consumers, while compatible with the OEM refrigerants, are not the same materials that were installed by the manufacturer. DIY service of the air conditioning system may yield less than satisfactory results and can lead to damage to system components. A common DIY mistake is over- or under-charging the system, which may lead to insufficient cooling ability and premature failure of the AC compressor.

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