Your home’s air conditioner allows you to beat the summer heat once warm temperatures take hold. However, sometimes air conditioning systems malfunction and experience leaks that require you to recharge them by adding more refrigerant to the system. Unfortunately, many Elgin, IL, residents don’t know how much recharging an AC unit costs or why it’s necessary.

So, how much does it cost to recharge an AC? To help you understand more about AC recharging, Leith Heating & Cooling is here to explain the process, its cost, and why it’s so important.

Leith Heating & Cooling is Elgin’s professional AC maintenance company. If you need professional air conditioning repair, maintenance, or installation services in Elgin, IL, contact Leith Heating & Cooling.

What Is AC Recharging?

AC recharging is the process of changing or refilling the unit’s refrigerant to improve or restore its performance. Refrigerant, also called Freon, circulates through your air conditioner via refrigerant lines, helping the unit generate cool air before distributing it throughout your home. Without refrigerant, your air conditioner can’t produce chilled air, leaving your home unbearably warm until you refill the refrigerant.

However, refrigerant is very toxic and can adversely affect your health, as well as the environment, if handled incorrectly. Many places have laws preventing homeowners from refilling their air conditioner’s refrigerant and require them to hire an HVAC professional to handle the recharging process.

How Much Does AC Recharging Cost?

So, how much does it cost to recharge your AC? It depends.

AC recharging costs depend on a variety of factors and typically range from service to service. It can cost anywhere from $100 to $600 but can escalate due to a wide range of additional elements. Below are some factors that affect AC recharging prices.

Type of Refrigerant

Many air conditioners require a specific refrigerant type to function properly. AC refrigerant comes in several varieties, with each type ranging in price. 

For example, R22 refrigerant typically costs more per pound than most other variations due to its negative impact on the environment. It’s also becoming harder to find since many modern AC systems use more environmentally friendly refrigerants. Below are some common refrigerant types and their average prices:

  • R-134A – $4 to $5
  • R-407C – $5 to $7
  • R-421A – $6 to $9
  • NU-22 – $7 to $8
  • R-427A – $10 to $11
  • R-410A – $12 to $25
  • R22 – $50 to $80

Always talk to a professional HVAC technician to determine which refrigerant type best suits your air conditioner.

Unit Type

Air conditioners also come in several unique styles and designs. However, some models are much harder to refill than others, making them more expensive to recharge. 

Window air conditioners are often the least expensive to recharge since they are relatively small and don’t contain numerous complex interior mechanisms. Conversely, central air conditioners are the most expensive to refill due to their complicated layout and excessive refrigerant demand. 

Larger air conditioning systems also carry higher recharge prices since they require more refrigerant. AC units with a two- to four-pound refrigerant capacity may cost between $100 to $350 to refill, while a system with a 10- to 20-pound capacity may cost up to $1,800. 

To put it simply, the bigger the air conditioner, the higher the recharging price.

Freon Recovery

Since Freon harms the environment, HVAC specialists can’t just throw it in the trash. They must dispose of refrigerant properly to reduce its environmental effects. The disposal process can increase AC recharging prices, with rates hovering around $2.50 per pound of refrigerant. 


Like most services, HVAC companies often charge labor fees that can enhance AC charging rates. These rates fluctuate from company to company and typically depend on how much time recharging takes, how strenuous the project is, and if the unit requires repairs beforehand. 

For example, if you have a large, run-down air conditioner with a complicated internal layout, you can expect to pay more than someone with a small, well-maintained unit.

Signs You Need to Recharge Your AC Unit

Many homeowners have trouble figuring out when to recharge their units. Waiting too long to charge your air conditioner can significantly decrease its performance and even cause it to break down completely. Below are a few common indications that you need to charge your air conditioning system.

The Unit Stops Producing Chilled Air

Again, refrigerant plays a critical role in the cooling process, and your air conditioner cannot generate chilled air if it doesn’t have enough refrigerant. When the refrigerant runs low, your unit will produce hot, uncomfortable air despite being on the cooling setting. If you notice your air conditioner suddenly stops producing cool air, contact a professional HVAC company to recharge it.

Sudden Spike in Electric Bills

Low refrigerant levels put immense stress on air conditioners, causing them to work harder to maintain a comfortable indoor climate. The additional strain can dramatically increase your monthly energy payments, leading you to waste hundreds on inadequate cooling. Recharging your air conditioner can reduce unit stress and restore performance, making your energy bills more affordable.


AC refrigerant leaks are exceedingly common and reduce your air conditioner’s efficiency while harming the environment. Fixing the leak and recharging your air conditioner will improve your unit’s effectiveness, ensuring your home stays cool during the dog days of summer. It will also reduce your carbon footprint, ensuring your heating and cooling system doesn’t damage the environment. 

Contact Leith Heating & Cooling for Top-Notch AC Refilling and HVAC Services in Elgin, IL

If your air conditioner’s refrigerant runs low and you ask yourself, “How much does it cost to recharge my AC?” contact Leith Heating & Cooling. Our technicians will recharge your AC unit and handle any repairs to ensure it operates optimally all summer long. Whether you need to recharge your air conditioner or want to learn more about refrigerant phase-out, Leith Heating & Cooling is here for all your AC service needs.

Give Leith Heating & Cooling a call at (847) 534-8686 and schedule your appointment in Elgin, IL, today!

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