Experts: Avoid Expensive AC Repairs with Simple Maintenance

Updated: 06/15/2013 3:17 PM By: Cassie Hart

Before you make the celebratory switch from heating to air, there's something you need to know about your unit that could be costly.

Jennifer Grauwels didn’t know that central air units had a life span and had been using hers for nine years.

Unfortunately, the average life of an air conditioning unit is only about ten years.  And hers - may have seen it's last days.

Brian Mahoney with Abel Heating and Cooling says 80 percent of refrigerant leaks happen in the basement and the average cost of the fix it is $1,500 dollars.  That’s almost half the price of a new system.

The EPA is phasing out the production of R-22 refrigerant to encourage homeowners to invest in newer, more environmentally-friendly systems. So the price of what's left of the chemical has skyrocketed for consumers.

Just three years ago you could have purchased an entire jug for just $60.

Today, the same amount costs up to $600.

"Soon there won't be any more R-22, they won't be manufacturing any more equipment that handles R-22," said Mahoney.

He said in the meantime, it’s all about maintenance and recommends cleaning the coil outside - and changing the filter on your system as often as once a month.