Money saving tips to keep you cool

LEWISTON, ID - Federal regulations have turned what was a commonly available air conditioning system refrigerant into a scarce resource. And that may make a lot of homeowners sweat this summer.

"The older models use a Freon that is not going to be available in a few years and because of that production of that Freon has reduced causing the price to go up," said Angie's List owner Angie Hicks. "So if you have to replace the Freon in an older model you are likely going to pay more this year."

Consumers have reported spending two and three times the amount for a common type of refrigerant than in previous years.

"When you consult with your heating and cooling company ask them about the developments that are happening with the Freon and how long you'll have to use your air conditioner because after a few years that Freon won't be available at all anymore," said Hicks. "They can help you time that purchase correctly and also help you to be able to understand how much you are going to save on your monthly bill by having a more efficient unit."

Angie's List asked highly rated heating and cooling companies about these regulations.

"For a homeowner who for many years may have a small leak in their systems and just have us come out in the spring or summer and top it off with a pound or two- well back in the day that might have run them a couple of hundred dollars," said HVAC Contractor Larry Howald. "And with today's prices of R22, it may be $500 to $600."

Having a conversation about your options with a licensed and qualified heating and cooling company can help homeowners determine if they should repair existing equipment or replace it. Any technician who handles refrigerant must be certified by the EPA to work with the coolant.