How much does an AC Freon leak repair cost?

$200 – $1,500 average Freon leak repair cost

Get free estimates from AC repair services near you, or view our cost guide below.

December 8, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 4 expert AC repair services on HomeGuide.

AC leak repair cost

AC leak repair costs $200 to $1,500 on average to find and fix the leak and refill the Freon. AC Freon leak repair costs depend on the HVAC location, severity, leak test method, refrigerant prices, and replacement parts. An AC leak test costs $100 to $330 for detection only.

Leaks in the refrigerant line cost the least to repair. Leaks in the evaporator coil or compressor are the most expensive to repair. AC water leak repairs cost $75 to $600 to fix.

AC leak repair cost - chart
AC leak repair cost - chart

AC leak repair cost
Leak type Average cost
AC Freon or refrigerant leak repair $200 – $1,500
AC water leak repair $75 – $600

AC Freon refrigerant leak repair cost

The following table shows the average cost to find and fix an AC refrigerant leak.

AC Freon refrigerant leak repair cost - chart
AC Freon refrigerant leak repair cost - chart

AC Freon refrigerant leak repair cost
National average cost $800
Minimum cost $150
Maximum cost $2,000
Average cost range $200 to $1,500

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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AC leak test cost

The cost to find an AC leak is $100 to $330, depending on the test method. Types of AC leak tests include:

  • Electronic leak detection is the most common and cost-effective test method. The drawback is that the detector can only scan components it can touch.
  • Dye detection involves sending fluorescent dye through the HVAC system and using a UV light to locate spots where the dye leaks out.
  • Nitrogen detection involves replacing the remaining refrigerant in the AC system with compressed nitrogen, which makes audible noises at any leak points.
  • Ultrasonic leak detection uses a device to listen for refrigerant gas escaping from the line.
  • A bubble test, also called soap bubble detection, involves dabbing a soap and water mixture on any suspected leak locations and looking for air bubbles that form at the leak points.
  • Halide torch detection uses a flame that turns green when it comes in contact with chloride. Halide torch tests have become less common because not all refrigerant includes chloride.

AC leak detection using bubble test
AC leak detection using bubble test

Costs to fix a Freon leak

The cost to fix a freon leak depends on the AC system's age, accessibility, the extent of the damage, and whether any parts need replacing. Refrigerant leaks often occur in the following parts, which require replacement:

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Signs of an AC freon leak

Common signs of an air conditioning refrigerant leak include:

  • Vents blowing warm air
  • AC runs all day but doesn't cool the home
  • Humid indoor air
  • Hissing, gurgling, or bubbling sounds from the AC unit
  • Oily residue on the refrigerant lines
  • Water leaking and puddling around the condenser
  • Higher utility bills
  • Frost or ice on the evaporator coil
Turn off the system and contact an AC repair company immediately if there is frost or ice on the evaporator coil. Running the unit in this condition can destroy the compressor.

Types of freon leaks

Most AC freon leaks are standing leaks (SL) in the evaporator or condenser coil. These leaks are typically not repairable and require part replacement instead. Some leaks in the refrigerant line set can be repaired with a weld.

Pinhole leaks or cumulative micro-leaks (CML) may also form in the coils or refrigerant lines over the years due to vibration, pressure, or general wear and tear.

Home HVAC water leak repair cost

Fixing a water leak in a home AC costs $75 to $600, depending on the cause and whether any parts require replacing.

Home HVAC water leak repair cost
Repair type Average cost
Flushing the drain line $75 – $250
Drain pan replacement $200 – $600
Condensate pump replacement $100 – $450
Air filter replacement $10 – $70 (DIY)
Evaporator coil cleaning $100 – $400

Common malfunctions that cause AC water leaks include:

  • Flushing the drain line costs $75 to $250. A clogged condensate drain line is the most common cause of an AC water leak.
  • Drain pan replacement costs $200 to $600 if the pan is cracked or rusted.
  • Condensate pump replacement costs $100 to $450. A malfunctioning condensate pump won't remove water from the drain pan through the drain line, causing the pan to overflow.
  • Replacing the air filter costs $10 to $70, depending on the filter type. A dirty or clogged air filter blocks airflow over the evaporator coil, causing excess condensation.
  • AC coil cleaning costs $100 to $400. Dirt and oil on the evaporator coil or condenser coil may cause excess condensation, resulting in a water leak.
To prevent a clogged drain line, pour 1/4 cup of distilled white vinegar into the drain line once per month. Let the vinegar sit for 30 minutes, then flush with hot water to ensure the line flows freely.

Is it normal for AC units to leak water?

It's normal for an AC unit to leak a small amount of water due to condensation. Excess moisture drips into the drain pan and is pumped out through the drain line. Frequent leaks indoors or puddles around the outdoor condenser that don't dry out quickly may indicate an AC problem.

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DIY refrigerant leak repair kit cost

AC leak repair kits cost $70 to $160 and include a leak-sealing chemical in a syringe or canister along with an injection hose or applicator. The chemical travels along the refrigerant's path through the AC system and seals any leak points.

Leak sealant syringe refills cost $30 to $100, depending on the AC size. An AC system may require multiple sealant applications.

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Do AC repair kits stop leaks?

AC repair kits are a temporary solution and will only fix tiny leaks. A repair kit will not stop leaks in the evaporator coil, where most freon leaks occur. A refrigerant recharge is required after injecting the leak sealant, and only a licensed AC technician can refill the refrigerant.

Frequently asked questions

Should I repair the freon leak or replace my AC instead?

Consider replacing the AC instead of repairing the leak if any of these conditions apply:

  • The AC is more than 10 years old.
  • The system uses R-22 freon.
  • The repair cost is at least 50% of the price of a new AC.
  • The repair cost multiplied by the system's age in years exceeds $5,000.

A new air conditioner costs $3,300 to $5,900 on average.

How to check for a freon leak in a home AC

An AC technician tests for leaks using an electronic leak detector, dye, ultrasonic detector, or nitrogen bubble test. Homeowners can use these simple methods to check for a freon leak before calling a technician for repairs:

  • Listen for hissing or bubbling sounds coming from the unit. Pinpoint the location of the sound.
  • Look for dirty or oily spots on the refrigerant line. Leaking refrigerant attracts dirt.
  • Mix soap with warm water and stir for several minutes. Apply the soap solution to areas where leaks are suspected. As refrigerant escapes, air bubbles form at the leak points.

Are Freon leaks dangerous?

Freon is a dangerous toxic substance that is harmful to health. Inhaling refrigerant gas may cause severe illness or death. Direct skin contact with refrigerants may cause a chemical burn or allergic reaction. Freon leaks also damage the environment and deplete the ozone layer.

Contact an AC repair company immediately if you suspect a freon leak. Inhaling the gas can be fatal.
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Hiring an air conditioner repair service

Before hiring an AC repair company near you, be sure to:

  • Get at least three estimates to compare.
  • Look for a NATE-certified technician with experience repairing air conditioners.
  • Confirm the technician is EPA Section 608 certified to handle refrigerants.
  • Read reviews and check out their previous work on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Select companies that are insured, bonded, and have been in business longer than five years.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead for work completed.

Questions to ask

  • How long have you been repairing air conditioners?
  • Are you NATE certified or ACCA accredited?
  • Are you EPA Section 608 certified to handle refrigerants?
  • Do you charge a diagnostic or service call fee to find the leak? If yes, do you apply that fee to the repair cost if I hire you to perform the repairs?
  • Which leak detection methods will you use?
  • How long will the leak test and repairs take?
  • Are you licensed, insured, and bonded?
  • What does your warranty policy include?
  • What is your payment schedule?

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