What’s the Difference Between R-22 and R-410A?

AC Heating Connect Service Tech uses an iPad 6 for important HVAC information

One of the hottest discussions (pardon the pun) within the air conditioning and heating industry is the difference between two refrigerants – R-22 and R-410A. As a homeowner considering a purchase, it’s important that you understand the difference so you can make the best decision for your system. We’ve outlined below the main differences and why they matter.

R-22

  • Often referred to by a brand name like Freon®
  • As of 2010, R-22 was discontinued for use in new air conditioning systems
  • R-22 is a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) which contributes to ozone depletion

R-410A

  • Often referred to by a brand name like Puron®
  • Has been approved for use in new residential air conditioners
  • Is a hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) which does not contribute to ozone depletion
  • Will become the new standard for U.S. residential air conditioning systems in 2015

Performance Differences

Newer air conditioning models are designed to be used with R-410A for reliable and more efficient operation. Because R-410A can absorb and release more heat than R-22, your air conditioning compressor can run cooler, reducing the risk of compressor burnout due to overheating.

R-410A also functions at a higher pressure than R-22, so new compressors are built to withstand greater stresses, reducing the chance for cracking. If you were to put R-410A refrigerant into a system designed for R-22, the pressure would be too much and the unit would break.

All air conditioners use an oil to keep the compressor lubricated during operation. R-22 air conditioners use mineral oil and R-410A systems use synthetic oil. The synthetic oil is generally more soluble with R-410A than mineral oil is with R-22. This means the R-410A system operates more efficiently reducing wear and tear on the compressor.

Dry Charging

While R-22 was outlawed in 2010 for use in new units, some companies are taking advantage of the law by producing what’s known as ‘dry charge’ units. These are new units that don’t have the refrigerant installed at the factory. Instead, a technician is required to come out to your home and install the R-22 refrigerant. While this practice is technically legal, this isn’t the best option for the following reasons:

  • There is a limited supply of R-22 and its price will increase as supplies diminish
  • R-410A offers greater efficiency, saving you in energy costs, and is much better for the environment
  • Dry charged units typically offer much shorter warranty periods

What have you heard about these two refrigerants? We can help give you unbiased answers!

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351 thoughts on “What’s the Difference Between R-22 and R-410A?

  1. Hi, I would like to know that how much fill does the Air-Con R22 gas for 10hp,5hp and so on.So, It would better that you want to sent to me the gas filling chat.And, the 10hp air-con R22 gas filled insufficient when copper gas pipe leakage repair.I would like to know that is ok or not to run.And, how to solve Air-Con dust line leakage problem and water condensate inside ceiling?Please answer this questions.

  2. I have a split Ramsond air conditioner(from 2010) 18000 BTU and the indoor evaporator coil is leaking. The part would be $185 with probably a $400 installation. I want to replace it but Ramsond can’t find the part. The old unit uses R-22 coolant. I believe the newer models use R-410a coolant. Can I use a new modern evaporator coil in my old unit still using R-22? I assume maybe some loss of efficiency and would need to worry about seals? If I can’t get the replacement part for my old unit, I will be forced to buy a whole new unit installed for about $4K. Thanks.

    • You can definitely find a new indoor evaporator that supports both R22 and R410a but since you say Ramsond doesn’t have the part, it would have to be from a different company. I know Goodman made indoor evaporator units that can take both R22 and R410a just a couple years ago. I think you’d have to get a used one. The ARUF310516xx, with xx being major and minor revision, should work for your 18000 BTU system and supports both R410a and R22.

  3. Hi. The best use for r-22 refrigerant on older a/c units is the new Nu-22 refrigerant. You have to still change oil and empty old r22 out. But its a much cheaper way than purchase new units. And cheaper to have topped off. When servicing.

  4. Question I have a 3 ton r22 unit and a newer 1 ton 410 unit my grandmother wants to reduce the electric bill by replacing the 1ton 410 unit with 3 window units a 410 and 2 134a units… will the electric bill go down or increase drastically, I lived with 3 window units in the house and her screaming at me about the electric bill for over a year and threw out the standing units with vent pipes out the house one year and the bill dropped over 200 per unit.
    The bigger question the 3 ton unit was serviced by a “handy man” that forgot his r22 gauges and used 134 gauges to connect the r22 tank that was purchased by my grandmother from an “unknown store” now that unit is low on freon and being serviced by an actual professional a/c guy, can the 134 left in the hoses and manifold cause the sound of “air” i hear in the lines.

  5. When I had my a/c system spring tune-up, the technician said I needed a little refrigerant added because the level was a little low. When he was finished, I noticed him carrying a container with 410-A on the side of it. My unit runs on R-22. Now it has been a couple of months and the system has a leak. They have checked the air handler and condensor and no leaks show up there. They are telling me the leak is in the copper tubing and they need to replace it. Could this leak have happened when the two freons were mixed.

    • Kathy,

      I would say not likely.

      I accidently added r410a to my r22 system several months ago and haven’t noticed a bit of change other than it is cooler now than before I added the r410a.

      I’m certain my ability to make sense of the associated pressure-temperature charts is out the window, but the unit is about 13 years old, time for a new one over the winter down here in Florida.

      Hopefully you were able to get the leak re-soldered.

      Cheers!

      John the budding HVAC tech…….

    • We recommend having a licensed contractor visit your location to provide an in-depth analysis of your system to determine if it potentially has the improper refrigerant installed. If it is questionable, then we recommend removing the contaminated refrigerant and installing virgin R22 refrigerant.

  6. “If you were to put R-410A refrigerant into a system designed for R-22, the pressure would be too much and the unit would break.” — That’s pretty funny. Compressors only do what they can do and what they were designed for. How is that R-22 compressor going to know somebody put R-410A in it and decide to try to operate at pressures beyond what it was designed for? I’m NOT advocating anybody put R-410A in an R-22 system but I did think the industry had managed to find substitute refrigerants that had similar working pressures/behaviors and there would be some sort of direct replacement for R-22.

    • In cars we use to use r12 years ago when they were forced to find a replacement they made 134a and your not to mix the 2. Its called retrofitting, you remive all the r12 flush and replace parts according to year make model tge recharge with only 134a at a lower charge than r12 because 134 runs at higher pressures just like 410a in residential units. From what i know they do the same in homes. They weren’t able to develop products to directly replace either refrigerants so we are stuck with a result of 134a not as efficient as r12 and many unhappy car owners. We did the best with what we were given. The only thing i can say is homes were more efficient with 410 than cars were with 134a

  7. My home was built in 1997 and the heat pump/AC unit was replaced in 2015 with an N4H4 3 ton unit that uses r410a refrigerant NO duct work or cold air return work was done. The cold air return is 20×30 and the house is 1840 sq. ft ranch built on a slab. should the caold air return been enlarged when the original r22 system was replaced?

    • Returns are the size needed for the volume of air going into the unit. All can be a little better or a little less, but with your home, your return sounds just fine~!

    • ‘Dry charging’ in this article is in reference to a new unit that does not have a refrigerant charge installed at the point of manufacture but that needs to be charged at the time of installation following the manufacturer’s recommendations.

  8. LG became widely used. units exported to Saudi Arabia must be redesigned to give its nominal cooling capacity @45 deg.centigrade such that at high ambient temperature which gulf area suffers now . the standard 39 C is no more efficient to release the load .

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