R-22, R-410A… R2-D2? Understanding the Differences between Refrigerants

It’s a hot topic in the air conditioning and heating industry (pun well intended): What is R-22? What is R-410A? Do you mean R2-D2? No, we’re not talking about the infamous fictional robot from Star Wars. We’re talking about something even cooler: refrigerants. To make the best heating and cooling decisions, it’s important to know the differences between refrigerants R-22 and R-410A.

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Click the image above, or download the PDF here.

R-22:

  • Often referred to by a brand name like “Freon”
  • Discontinued for use in new AC systems in 2010
  • Is a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC), which contributes to ozone depletion

R-410A:

  • Often referred to by a brand name like “Puron”
  • Approved for use in new residential air conditioners
  • Is a hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC), which does not contribute to ozone depletion

Fast Facts

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R-410A functions at a higher pressure than R-22, so new compressors are built to withstand greater stresses.

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All air conditioners use an oil to keep the compressor lubricated during operation. R-22 systems 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.

Ever heard of a dry charged unit? Here’s why you should avoid it.

Some companies took advantage of the 2010 law that banned R-22 from new units by producing “dry charged” units. Dry charge units bypass the 2010 law, because new units are created without refrigerants and R-22 is installed later in the process.

Reasons to avoid dry charge units:

  • As limited supplies of R-22 diminish, prices increase
  • Lower efficiency means higher energy costs
  • Dry charge units are not good for our environment
  • They offer much shorter warranty periods

In Summary

R-410A has become the new standard for U.S. residential air conditioning systems. Newer AC models are designed to be used with R-410A for reliable and more efficient operation.

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