Replacing Air Handler (partially myself) - How to disconnect refrigerant lines?

Hello,
I need to replace my air handler (the evaporator coil is leaking), and would like to do as much of it myself as possible. If it weren't for the refrigerant, I believe I could handle removing the old unit and putting the new one in, including the sheet metal (yes, I understand that the sizes won't match up exactly - the new one is about 3.5 inches taller). Ideally, a contractor would then come in and handle hooking up the refrigerant lines, and any other leftover cleanup work.
The problem, though (as far as I can tell, anyway), is disconnecting the refrigerant lines from the old unit.
EPA and legal issues aside, is there a safe and simple way for me to disconnect the refrigerant lines from the old unit?
I can't find a local contractor to do it for under $150. And then I have another service charge to hook the lines back up...so, that's why I would like to do the disconnect myself, if possible.
FYI, judging from past refrigerant refills, the system is probably about half empty or more at this point (the capacity, I believe, is 7 or 8 pounds of R22. The heat pump is a Payne 3.5 ton 10 SEER.)
Btw, the old air handler is a 10 SEER 4 ton Bryant. The new one (as suggested by Alpine Air) is a 13 SEER 3 to 3.5 ton Goodman, with a TXV.)
Thanks for any help...
Mike
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Let me get this straight. The obvious issue here is that by law, the freon must be recovered and not released into the atmosphere. The rest of us follow the laws and pay the resulting higher prices. And you want to know how to ignore the law and environment and save $150? Do you pour your waste oil down the storm sewer too?

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wrote:

Yep. Call someone that can do it safely and simply.

Hmmmm. They all charge at least $150? Doest that begin to tell you something? Id like to be paying under $1.00 for a gallon of gas but it doesnt look like Im going to get my way either. If you "vent" the refrigerant AND get caught, you can be fined up to $20,000 and the one that turns you in will be rewarded financially..........just the same as we hvac guys. I wish I knew where you lived. Id bring my video camera.

Oh, so if it only has part of its refrigerant left, its ok to ignore the EPA laws and just vent it and destroy the atmosphere? Nice call, SMUCK!

with your order. Bubba

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Why don't you just answer the guy's question, dude. Did you not forget that this is a DIY site?
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you open the line with the area ventilated, then claim all the gas had already leaked out........
installing a new A coil are you installing a new outdoor compressor too?
your better off with new lines they may be sized differently and even if they arent debris sludge etc might be trapped in old lines and damage your new set up.
new units save money SEER much improved
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He did answer the guy's question. Unless you have the proper equipment and the training to recover the freon, venting it into the atmosphere is illegal. Or do you think you can just put the freon into a bucket? What do you think the eqpt would cost for this one time event, versus just paying the pro $150, which is what was quoted?
Dumb ass.
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wrote:

Its rather apparent that you dont seem to be able to understand the English language......................"dude" Bubba
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