Air conditioning repair bills rising

Coolant shortage, rising unit costs contributing

MIAMI - Repair bills for air conditioning units are increasing as a result of new federal regulations and rising costs.

"The repair bills are definitely rising," said Ron Martin with Expert Air Advice.

Martin said, in some cases, repairs costs have tripled this year mainly because of a shortage of coolant that's being phased out by the EPA.

"It's damaging to the ozone so they're trying to use a more friendly gas out there that protects our ozone layer on the Earth's atmosphere," said Martin.

Martin said the cost of air conditioning units are also rising -- nearly doubling in the last decade.

"In an air conditioner, you have cooper, steel, aluminum and brass. It's like buying a commodity these days so the price has gone crazy," said Martin.

Consumers can extend the longevity of their air conditioning units by having them serviced every six months.

"A lot of people, the only time they think of it is when it's not working and it's important to maintain them just like you would a car," said Martin.

If you're having leaks or major repairs more than once a year, experts say it's probably time to replace the unit.

"What many people don't realize is that your heating and cooling expenses represent about 50 percent of your energy bills, so if your air conditioner is getting a little on the old side, maybe it's six, seven, eight, 9-years-old, you want to make sure repairing it is the best move," said Angie Hicks, the creator of Angie's List.

By law, both the inside and outside units must be replaced.

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