How To Sell Refrigerant

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Guide: Selling Refrigerant


It is not every day that people sell refrigerant – especially old refrigerants like Freon or other R12 brands. But then it happens. You stumble upon an old cylinder of R12 after cleaning out your garage or sell an old car and no longer have use for those extra cans of refrigerant, and you want to sell your used refrigerant to an EPA-certified refrigerant buyer near you.

This guide is designed to help you understand the refrigerant buyback process with clear and easy steps for a smooth, lucrative experience. 


Looking for answers quickly? Jump to our quick guide at the bottom of this article or contact us at 312-291-9169 or visit us online 


1. Identify Your Refrigerant


Not all refrigerants are the same. There are chlorofluorocarbons (R12 or CFC-12), hydrochlorofluorocarbons (R22 or HCFC-22), and hydrofluorocarbons (R-134a or HFC-134a). Knowing the type of refrigerant you have will impact where you can sell it, what rules need to be followed when you sell, and how much money you’ll get paid. 


The chart below helps to break down the complex names and differences between CFCs, HCFC,s and HFCs to avoid confusion. 


Tip: The first tool is a chemical name table. Find the chemical name written on the side of the cylinder or can you have and match it to the table below to confidently identify the refrigerant you have. 


R11 Trichlorotrifluoromethane  CCl3F  
R12 Dichlorodifluoromethane  CCl2F2  
R113 Trichlorotrifluoroethane  CClF2CCIF2  
R114 Dichlorotetrafluoroethane  C2Cl2F4  
R500 Dichlorodifluoromethane and Difluoroethane  C3H4CI2F4  


If you cannot find the chemical name, sometimes the color of the cylinder can help. Luckily, most companies followed a specific color scheme to indicate the refrigerant type housed inside the tank. For example, most companies like DuPont put all R12 refrigerant in white cylinders and all R11 refrigerant in orange cylinders.


This next table allows you to look up disposable cylinder colors and helps you find the refrigerant name and type that is most commonly found inside.  


R11 Orange 
R12 White or Tan 
R113 Purple 
R114 Navy Blue 
R500 Yellow 


What if your refrigerant cylinder is too rusty or dirty to find a chemical name or you cannot see its original color? Or maybe you have a generic recovery cylinder (a tank with two valves) that has a different color scheme, like yellow and grey. 


If this is the case, then you might need to call an expert, like Refrigerant Finders. Refrigerant Finders and other EPA-certified refrigerant technicians will carry handheld analyzers that take a quick sample of the refrigerant gas in these recovery tanks.


These analyzers connect to your cylinders and let you know exactly what refrigerant you have.


Quick and easy!  

2. Identify How Much Refrigerant You Have


Refrigerant is either compressed gas or a liquid. When we measure how much refrigerant someone has, we are referring to the weight of this gas or liquid. For example, a small can of R12 might contain 12 ounces of refrigerant, and a cylinder of R12 might hold 30 pounds of refrigerant. A drum of CFC-11 refrigerant might have 100 pounds of refrigerant. 


But how do you figure out how much refrigerant you have? This requires three steps and a little math.  To start, you will need to calculate the gross weight (or total weight) of the container of refrigerant. Once you find the total weight, you will need to figure out the tare weight (or container weight) and subtract the tare weight from the gross weight. It breaks down like this:


Total Weight – Tare Weight = Amount of Refrigerant You Have


Let us explain further: 


Step One. Put your cylinder, can, or drum of refrigerant on a scale and measure the weight. Any scale will do, including a basic bathroom scale. 


Tip: Put it on the scale in a way that allows you to easily see the weight displayed. Most importantly, remember to take your hand off the refrigerant container so you do not distort the results!


Step Two. Find the tare weight. What is tare weight, you ask? Tare weight refers to the weight of the cylinder or drum that holds your refrigerant. Every container holding refrigerant is made of metal, and some can be incredibly thick. That metal has a weight of its own, so even if the container is empty and has no refrigerant inside, your scale will read higher than zero.  





So, how do you figure out the tare weight of your refrigerant container? First, determine if the refrigerant is in a disposable or recovery tank.  


Tip: A disposable cylinder has only one valve and a recovery tank has two!  


Once you know the type of tank your refrigerant is in and its capacity, you can find the correct tare weight.  


For disposable canisters, this chart will help you determine the tare weight for commonly sized refrigerant tanks.  

Disposable Tank Tare Weights 
Capacity Tare Weight 
30lbs  6lbs  
50lbs  9.5lbs  
100lbs (Drum)  14lbs  
200lbs (Drum)  20lbs  


Not sure what capacity your disposable tank is? Use these photos as a reference for matching your disposable cylinders to the ones shown below. But please review carefully! Some cylinders look similar but are actually different sizes. 


If you can find a tare weight printed on your cylinder, then you have your answer.


But if you cannot find a tare weight printed on the recovery cylinder, then you can use the table below for the likely tare weight of your recovery tank. 

Reclaim / Recovery Tank Tare Weights 
Capacity Tare Weight 
30lbs  17.8lbs  
50lbs  27.6lbs  
145lbs  52lbs  


Recovery tanks are more generic, with yellow and grey being the most common canister colors. Just like the disposable refrigerant canisters, some tanks will look similar but are actually different sizes.  



Step Three: Do the math. Take the total weight measured on your scale and subtract the tare weight of your container. That will tell you how much refrigerant you have. 


3. Call Refrigerant Finders and Make a Deal


Refrigerant Finders offers a nationwide refrigerant buyback program that makes it convenient to sell your refrigerant. We ensure that the transaction is conducted according to all the rules and regulations that apply. And best of all, we pay you top dollar to take the refrigerant off your hands. 


How do we make the refrigerant buyback process so easy? 

Let’s start with convenience. Refrigerant Finders offers three different collection methods for you to choose from. 


Method One: Our Mail-In Program. Refrigerant Finders is the only refrigerant buyback program that offers a nationwide partnership with FedEx where you can sell your refrigerant without ever leaving your home. It is like Amazon or GrubHub home delivery but in reverse. It is so easy and quick. This method is often the fastest way to sell your refrigerant.


Here is how it works:  

First, let our team know the refrigerant container size you have and the quantity. We will then send you as many boxes as you need, all appropriately sized to fit your refrigerant canister. Each box comes pre-labeled with all of the important shipping information and markings on it, along with easy-to-follow instructions.  


All you need to do is open it up, drop your refrigerant inside, complete the included paperwork, and then call us back when you are ready. We will send a FedEx truck to your house the next day to pick it up. Easy!  



Your box is sent the next day and typically arrives in 2-4 days. Once you are ready, FedEx will pick it up the next day and return it to our warehouse in roughly 2-4 days (depending on how far you live from Chicago). We process it the day it arrives at our warehouse and prepares your payment within 48 hours. 


Payment Method:

We pay by check, PayPal or e-payment after processing your material at our warehouse. You can choose which payment method is best for you. 


Method Two: Our In-Person Collection Program. Refrigerant Finders has EPA-certified technicians in California, Texas, Illinois, Wisconsin, Georgia, and Washington D.C. These technicians routinely travel throughout their regions on collection trips. They will come to your shop or home and pick up the material at a mutually convenient time when they are in your area.


Depending on where you live, we will come to your area every 4-12 weeks. The typical transaction takes about 20 minutes. 


Payment Method:

We pay by cash, check, or PayPal. 


Method Three: Our Drop-Off Program. If you are in the Chicagoland area, you can arrange to bring your refrigerant directly to our warehouse. If you are in the Los Angeles (California), Austin (Texas), or Washington D.C. (Maryland or Virginia) areas, you can also arrange a drop off with one of our regional technicians. 



We can schedule a drop-off within one week and often the very next day. The typical transaction takes about 20 minutes.


Payment Method:

We pay by cash, check, or PayPal.


Are there any rules and regulations when selling refrigerant?  


Yes. You are not permitted to sell your refrigerant to just anybody. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the sale of Freon, and other CFC and HCFC refrigerants. These older refrigerants can only be sold to companies that employ EPA-certified technicians. Importantly, the burden is on the seller to make sure they are selling to someone who is certified. By calling Refrigerant Finders, you can have confidence knowing that you are following the EPAs rules. All of our technicians are EPA-certified and are happy to give you a copy of their cards.

For more on this important topic, you can look on the EPA website or read our blog.


And finally, the fun part: getting paid.


We pay by the pound. If you have CFC refrigerants, such as R12 or R11 or R500, or even R113, Refrigerant Finders will pay competitive prices for your refrigerant. The amount we will pay depends on the type of refrigerant and the amount, as well as whether it is recovered or in a disposable cylinder. (This is another reason why identifying your refrigerant tank correctly is so important!) Rest assured, you can expect a quote from our agents that will provide you with a certain price per pound – and turn that old cylinder or can into some extra spending money. 


The Quick Guide  


We understand this is a lot of information, so we offer a Quick Guide to keep it all together, and to help set you up for a fast and successful call to Refrigerant Finders: 


  1. Figure out what type of refrigerant you have 
  2. Figure out how much refrigerant you have (total weight minus tare weight) 
  3. If you have R12, R11, R113, R114 or R500, call Refrigerant Finders and be prepared to tell us: 
    1. What you have 
    2. How much you have 
    3. Which collection method you want to use 
    4. How you want to get paid 
    5. Sell us your refrigerant and make money, fast.  

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