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Coolant in short supply as temps rise - Greenville, NC | News | Weather | Sports - WNCT.com

Coolant in short supply as temps rise

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GREENVILLE, N.C. -

Beating the heat---it's on everyone's mind. Especially on days like today, where temperatures climbed into the 90's.

"After 95 it doesn't matter, it's just hot." People like Jack Gargis are doing what they can to stay hydrated and cool, literally shielding themselves from the sun.

But what if you couldn't escape the scorching heat? Your air conditioner was broken. It is something that happens too much in the summer.

"Usually on the hotter days of the years is when the system is under the biggest stress because of the temperature and they fail." Jay Tripp of Pitt Electric says.

Right now most systems use two types of coolant tanks, 410A and R22.  But the Environmental Protection Agency is ending production of R22 within the next 7 years.

That has manufacturers moving toward newer, more-efficient coolants. But many air conditioning systems still use R22, keeping its demand high and causing prices to rise dramatically.

"Yea 300-400%. I've been in the industry 25 years and I can remember when we bought it like it was like buy bottled water."

"I think some people are charging an excessive amount for refrigerants, but if they can get it, that's their business but i think it's wrong to charge an excessive amount as a ploy to coerce someone into buying something they don't need right now."

AC specialists say some people are charging $130-140 a pound for the R22 coolant. If you multiply that by five to ten pounds (the usual amount needed by a traditional unit), you're looking at a $1,000 bill in just coolant alone.

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