Share this: Print

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

Cost Savings Maintenance

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!

Related Articles
HVAC Glossary of Terms

Was this helpful?

NoYes +106
Loading ... Loading ...

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

  1. R-410a will also be phased out at some point in the future and is no better for the environment than R-22. R-410a has a higher Global Warming Potential (1725 GWP) than R-22 (1700 GWP). R-22 has only a Ozone Depletion Potential of 0.05 and the decision to push R-410a over R-22 was more of a political decision than an environmental one.

  2. Dear all,

    Good morning,

    I am working in industrial as well as heavy commercial refrigeration system designing, as per above it is cleared that instead of R22, R410 is reliable to use, My query is shall we use R410 in heat pump application & what about delta T calculations in heat pump

  3. R410A requires a redesign of the R22 system and R-410A can’t simply be substituted for R22 in the R22 system. There are increases in heat exchanger efficiency with R410A versus R22. When the heat exchanger is properly sized for the increase in efficiency the air side delta Ts are approximately the same for R22 and R410A systems. Hope this helps.

  4. P;ease send me the details of what all I need to purchase to recharge with R-410 as a substitute for R-22. I have the regulators/hoses for the high and low pressure ports, If that will save me a few bucks. please let me know what the prices for what you recommend too. thanks you, John Berry

  5. It is vitually impossible to retrofit a system designed for R22 to be suitable for use with R410A. The compressor and other major components are totally different and you would have to change all of them. There are some approved R22 retrofit refrigerants available like R407C, but most of these would require you to change the oil in the compressor. R22 systems use mineral oil and the retrofits use synthetic (POE) oil. It might be better to check with a qualified contractor to advise you on your options. The contractor might also help you find the leak that is causing your system to lose charge. In any case, be careful with matching the right oil with the right refrigerant because some combinations can cause clogging in the system and poor lubrication which can lead to worse problems and could force you to buy a whole new system. Hope this helps.

  6. I just had a new 410a 5 ton condenser and blower installed replacing an older r22a. The air generated is not nearly as cold as the r22a. Can’t get the house below 80 degrees. What’s wrong?

  7. Hi Anne,

    As long as the unit is sized correctly, it makes no difference which approved refrigerant is used. My thought, either the blower speed is not set correctly or the unit (possibly due to temperature at the time of charging) might need it’s refrigerant charge amount checked. Either of these would require the company that did the installation to return to the job. All contractors understand the important of satisfied customers and should be happy to help find a solution.

  8. Our air conditioning stopped working and we hired a AC company to fix it. They told use that we needed to replace the air handler but not the 13 year old compressor. The AC was not worked correctly since the installation. House never gets below 85 degrees and the AC unit run all the time. Since the new unit was installed, our electric bill has doubled. Did the company mislead use by not installing a new compressor. Are we doing damage to the new air handler we bought? Any suggestions?

    • Hi Danny,

      Great question, this one has been coming up a lot lately. R-22 and R-410A are completely different substances, and should be treated as such.
      Mixing these two refrigerants together in a system is NOT advisable. Please call a local HVAC Service Company and allow a qualified Technician to inspect your equipment.

  9. No. R22 and R410A are not compatible and combining them in your system will cause serious problems. I would suggest having an HVAC contractor check your system to make sure it really is low on charge. If it is low, maybe the contractor can find the source of the refrigerant leak and fix it so you won’t need to keep adding refrigerant which can get to be expensive. Having the proper charge is essential to HVAC peformance and the long term reliability and life of your system.

  10. I am replacing my air handler with a new r410a system but my outside system is 6 years old and had r12 freon,I am planing to use the r410a freon in the system , will a damage the compressor ? Keep in mind this is a heat pump. Thanks

  11. Your six year old system probably had R22 refrigerant and not R12 which is used in old refrigerators and not AC. The R410A indoor will not work with an R22 outdoor. You should probably call a good HVAC contractor to get another opinion but I think you should probably replace both the indoor and the outdoor units to R410A. The R22 outdoor has an entirely different compressor with different oil, etc., and will not work with an R410A indoor coil and all the other components.

  12. I have to ask why everyone has to have the government dictate policy and we all just follow along like sheep? Wouldn’t be nice if just once some our leading HVAC manufacturers stepped up to the plate and made changes without the government? What comes next the government directs us as with regulations on when we can run the units?

    • Government sets the laws, we get to follow them. If we didn’t have laws to protect air quality and have uniform building codes it would be utter chaos when disaster hits much more so than current.

      Example: China / Haiti

    • Amen… it appears that business and government are clearly working together to stimulate sales and mislead the masses. Interesting that this is NOT what we are led to believe by the media on either side… one side worships business and the other wants to control and manipulate… in reality? Big biz iz walking hand in hand. Consider the number of ex gov officials that become lobbyists. Wasn’t this prez supposed to do away with them? Enough said… I just had a new system installed and not sure I did the right thing. Outside unit is R-22(1.5ton) and inside is R410… should I push for outside unit to be changed to a R410 unit? Serious difference between new and WORKING old system, which was a 15yr old Goodman/Janitrol(2.25ton)… I now have higher humidity upstairs and down and basement is 10 degrees warmer. Installer adjusted Freon(removed) to make unit run more and that helped a small bit but extra runtime will increase our utility bill. Old unit worked was just too big for home and 10 SEER. New furnace is 95% vs 65% and looking forward to those savings… but this AC situation is bothering me.

  13. I have a chiller with a 5 ton copeland scroll compressor that needs the compressor replaced. The compressor is an R22 unit. The chiller is 9 years old and was working fine until the compressor failed. Should I replace with a similar sized R410a compressor that I have access to or should I replace with the same R22 unit? Are there other components that need to be replaced when changing compressors?

    • Hi John,

      Thanks for your question. As the compressor in the original unit you described is a R-22 compressor, any replacement must be R-22 compatible compressor. R-22 specific components are not usually interchangeable with R-410A components and this is definitely true with compressors. So, if your thought is to replace only the compressor, the new compressor must also be a R-22 compressor (like for like). When replacing a compressor, other devices or accessories to consider replacing would include: compressor contactors / relays, start components, run components, crankcase heaters, filter/driers, site glass, ect.

      Hope this helps,
      Scott

  14. My AC was not working and I was told to replace it with a new one, both the handler and the compressor. I was told that there was going to be some difference /price for installing r-22 system and r-410a system as the r-410a system requires more work. Why is r-410a system more expensive to install?

    Shawn

  15. Hi Shawn. Thanks for the post. Here is my interpretation of what you were told.

    “handler” usually refers to the “indoor air handler” which includes a coil, an air moving blower and other components which might be located in your basement, attic or in a utility closet.

    “compressor” is probably referring to your “outdoor unit” which contains a coil, a compressor and some other components”

    Before 2010, if you had an R22 outdoor unit failure you could usually get a replacement to match your R22 indoor air handler. The problem is that the US government agreed to restrictions on the use of R22 refrigerant because it was proven to be harmful to the ozone. After January 1, 2010 it was no longer legal to install a new R22 system.

    Unfortunately, R22 components and R410A components are not compatible with each other due to different pressures, type of oil used, etc., and this includes the compressor which is in the outdoor unit. There are still a few R22 outdoor units available and if you can find one, this might be a low cost repair option. If you have to go to R410A you will have to replace the whole system – both the indoor and outdoor equipment must be matched to the refrigerant. This might be why you are being told that the R410A option is more costly than the R22 retrofit with your existing indoor unit.

    If you decide to stay with R22 you might want to ask about how expensive it will be to recharge the refrigerant if you ever have a leak because the government is restricting the production of R22 and the costs are going up. You might also ask about the efficiency improvement (energy cost savings) you might get from a new system versus retrofitting the old one which might have a lower “SEER” rating.

    A lot the terms used above are mentioned in other articles on this site so you might try searching for them if you have other questions. I hope this helps. Thanks for your post!

    • Thank you for your reply and the explanation.
      I was told to replace the in door handler with electric heat and also the compressor.
      I just wonder why it will cost much more with r410a system if both of the handler and the compressor are going to be replaced.
      Many thanks

  16. A couple things might be going on here but it seems like the person advising you might be comparing an R410A system or component replacements with an R22 component/system replacement. But R22 indoor air handlers have not been produced for use in the US since 2010 – over three years ago. If there happens to be one in stock somewhere, I could see how it might have been acquired at lower cost – after inflation – or might even be used or reconditioned. The other thing going on might be the cost of new refrigerant. If your old R22 refrigerant can be reclaimed and re-used that might drive those costs a little lower. One other possibility is that the R22 system might have a lower SEER efficiency (if it was produced before they raised the minimum SEER in 2006) and the new R410A system is at the new minimum of 13 SEER. If this is the case, the indoor air handler will be larger and might require more labor to get it to fit into your space. If it is lower efficiency, it would also probably be lower cost too.
    It is always good to ask your contractor to explain these things and show you exactly what they are planning to replace and why. You might also want to get another opinion from another contractor. It is hard for us to speculate without being on the job with you. These are interesting questions though so thanks for sharing. I hope this helps.

  17. Hello I am in the process of replacing my old AC unit with a new one. The old one is R-22 hence I would like to buy the same type which I found. However, I was told the compressor is filled with synthetic oil instead of mineral but according to your description all R-22 has mineral based oil. Can the freon and oil be mixed where R-22 is mixed with synthetic oil? I am almost ready to buy the unit but because of the oil issue I am unable to decide. I am not 100% sure if my older AC unit used mineral oil but based on the year it was purchased it is likely. The old unit is York model H2DB024S06A. Any suggestion is greatly appreciated.

    • Your old unit is probably R-22 and has mineral oil in it. The new R-22 unit you are considering is designed for use with R-22 refrigerant, but features the new synthetic oil – called “POE” which is becoming the industry standard. You can check with the contractor, the manufacturer or the seller of the unit to make sure, but most guidelines for these retrofits indicate you can use a new unit with POE in these situations without having problems with the oils. Most of the oil from the old unit will be contained in the old unit being replaced anyway and the residual oil left in the lines and indoor coil should be minimal. This is a good question to ask, as both oils are compatible with R-22 refrigerant.
      Good luck with your retrofit!

  18. When our old AC unit could no longer be repaired (was burning out a wire, but our tech was able to give us two more years out of the unit for about a $200 fix). When the time came to replace the unit, we were offered the “opportunity” to gut our existing system and ductwork and spend $10k or more to pretend to save the environment by going to an R410A system. At the 11th hour, I asked if we could get an R22 replacement unit instead (I had tracked down a compressor for our unit for about $700, which prompted me to ask). We got our new R22 AC for about $2-$3k. In eight years, the original unit (which died in its 19th year) never needed refrigerant. I’ll gladly take my chances on R22 refrigerant prices going up vs. eating a huge government-extorted up-front cost to rip out perfectly good equipment in support of a new R410a system.

  19. Thanks for your comments. This is a very common situation and we agree with all your points. Here are a few other comments and suggestions on this topic which you might find helpful in the future.

    Replacing an R22 compressor or the outdoor unit (which contains the compressor) is a good, low cost way to get your AC running again without changing out the indoor part of the system (which contains the cooling coil, the blower and often is integrated with a gas furnace or other heating system). If the indoor components are still in good shape and you can find the R22 outdoor replacement parts and the R22 refrigerant you can save some money. Many people do this and many contractors support this approach. We think this sort of repair will be a viable, low cost repair option for at least through 2016 and maybe longer – as long as parts are available.

    Some other low cost replacement options should be emerging even after the R22 availability becomes difficult. Many R22 indoor coils build since 2006 were designed to be retrofitted to R410A so a homeowner can still keep the indoor equipment but upgrade to a newer outdoor. There are some extra parts and steps involved but it should still be lower cost than total system replacement. Unfortunately, just like with the R22 replacements, the overall efficiency of the system usually will not improve when only the outdoor equipment is replaced.

    For people who are willing to pay a little more, some new, high efficiency retrofits are becoming available in the market. These should help satisfy homeowners who want the low cost replacement but would also like to reduce their energy bills or address some comfort issues like humidity control, nighttime temperature spikes or sound and air quality.

    Thanks for your comments!

  20. About 2 years ago my coil developed a freon (R22) leak and was replaced with a unit designed for R410A. I did not replace the compressor but I need to do so now. My question is since the system is all R22 (even though the coil is designed for R410A), should I replace both the coil and compressor with all R410A equipment or just go with a dry charged R22 compressor and keep everything R22? Thanks.

    • Craig,

      Thanks for the question! It’s a matter of what you want to get out of the system, If lowest cost is the only objective, you could keep the system as an R-22, and just replace the outdoor unit (coil & compressor) and maybe save a little money. If your goal is improved efficiency and a longer term solution (if R-22 becomes scarce in the future) you might want to consider an R-410-A unit with a little higher efficiency rating (almost all R-22 units available now are only13 SEER). Either way I would talk to a qualified HVAC Service Company to do the system change out and discuss various options and trade-offs. The article attached to the link below might provide more info on this.

      http://www.ac-heatingconnect.com/r22-outdoor-unit-replacement-decision/#sthash.e5diUa5J

  21. I have a kenmore dehumidifier that is not generating any water in the bucket. The compressor seems to be kicking in and out properly and the humidity sensor seems to be functioning fine, and the fan runs well too. The filter has been cleaned and the evaporator coils and condenser have also been gently cleaned. When running the evaporator coils do get cold…but not cold enough to cause the moisture in the air to reach its dew point and condense. The unit is sealed, so I installed a bullet piercing valve on the low side line going into the compressor to allow for recharging. The compressor runs A410-A refrigerant and I wanted to know if it is okay to add a small charge of Redtek 22a refrigerant (this is an Eco friendly substitute for R22 that is sold in small 6 and 12 oz cans…like the car a/c stuff) to top off the system?

    Thanks.

  22. It is important to match the original refrigerant in the unit if you are recharging. The chemicals are different and the oils are different too. Mixing refrigerants can lead to problems. Hope this helps.

  23. Dear Sir
    My +10 year split unit (R22) had failed and I intended to install newer set. However I was told that the existing copper piping has to be replaced inorder to receive new set of aircond using R410. My existing copper piping is concealed behind built-in wardrobe and furniture and I dont want to spend money to rip and rebuild the furniture. Can I re-use the old piping for the R410 gas. Do I expect any future leakage of gas, deterioration of piping etc. If no choice, my only option is to new unit with R22.
    Please advise,

    • Some contractors have had success using existing copper lines but they neeed to be cleaned and flushed out before using them with the new refrigerant. Whle older lines do not normally deteriorate over time they are still subject to vibration and fatigue. If your lines have braze joints or have a lot of contact with other surfaces this could lead to future leaks. In any case it might be best to get some more input from one or more qualified contractors on the specifics of your particular situation. Hope this helps.

  24. I just had a new system installed and not sure I did the right thing. Outside unit is R-22(1.5ton) and inside is R410… should I push for outside unit to be changed to a R410 unit? Serious difference between new and WORKING old system, which was a 15yr old Goodman/Janitrol(2.25ton)… I now have higher humidity upstairs and down and basement is 10 degrees warmer. Installer adjusted Freon(removed) to make unit run more and that helped a small bit but extra runtime will increase our utility bill. Old unit worked great was just too big for home and 10 SEER. I was led to believe that the new system would do away with COLD DAMP air as the new system would run more and thus drop humidity. THIS DID NOT OCCUR!!!!!
    New furnace is 95% vs 65% and looking forward to those savings… but this AC situation is bothering me.
    Did I do wrong in accepting ONLY a SEER 13 unit?(old unit was a 10)
    What is true fix for overnight humidity spike?
    What blower speeds are suggested for ac, heat and continuous fan?
    Thanks,
    Harry

  25. Getting the indoor and outdoor equipment all on the same refrigerant would be the best approach but if you decide to keep the same mismatched equipment, its performance (cooling and energy use) could be less than optimal and might be inadequate for your needs. Some indoor coils were designed to handle both R-22 and R-410A so if this is the case with your indoor coil, you might want to ask the contractor to verify that the orifice you are using is the right one for the refrigerant you are using.

    Some of the problems you are experiencing could also be caused by the outdoor unit being too small to keep up with your needs. Going from 2.25 tons to 1.5 tons seems like a pretty large change but if your system is set up properly and you still have problems then you might need to check to see if it has enough capacity. There is a standard set of calculations that most contractors use to determine the best cooling capacity to match the space to be cooled so these might need to be rechecked. If you go with a different unit you might want to look into a 16+ SEER system with at least two steps of capacity modulation to address humidity problems throughout the cooling season. These also come with variable speed indoor air handlers which might address your other question about air flow.

    BTW, the proper refrigerant charge level should not be variable and should be set to the design of the system. Reducing charge level to achieve longer run time is not recommended and could actually cause damage to the system. Here is a link for a smart phone app that many contractors use to set the proper refrigerant charge.

    http://www.emersonclimate.com/en-us/Resources/Mobile_Apps/Pages/HVAC_Check_Charge.aspx.

    Hope this helps.

    • Thanks for the rapid and very clear response. The installer did come back after a week to replace the expansion valve on the inside coil… he did not have one initially so did the install anyway. System was very noisy, could here and feel vibration in house when it ran. The noise disappeared after changing to valve that he stated allowed him to use the R22 in this system. There is a label on air handler cabinet that states R410A only… my assumption was that this valve was what determined acceptable refrigerant. What would high vs low speed fan do to my humidity situation? Does the type of unit with capacity modulation use more energy at night to drop humidity, then return to daytime system which does OK, in my situation? If so that would be fine and a change would be worth it. I plan on discussing with installer once I have done sufficient background research.
      I did not do enough research prior to purchase or I would have caught this in advance… I am a trusting soul and expect the treatment that I would give them… shame on me!
      My house is less than 840sqft and the 2.25ton unit was way too cold when on but wouldn’t drop the humidity at night unless set to colder temps. His calculations supported the 1.5ton unit but I am going research and make sure I have sufficient outlets. I also have a central, single cold air return mounted as low as it can go, but we circulate the air with ceiling fans in all rooms except the bathroom. I will be going to a higher location central air return with high mounted intakes for the rooms with doors.
      Your response helped tremendously.
      thank you,
      Harry

  26. It sounds like you are making progress. Here are a few answers to your other questions:

    1 Generally more air flow will help with humidity reduction as that will keep more air circulating across the cold coil when it is running. Some people actually let the fan run constantly when it is really humid (set it to “on” not “auto”) so the fan runs even when the system is not actually cooling. Conversely, the lower blower setting will generally make any humidity problem even worse as less of the moist air will pass over the coil.

    2 Systems with capacity modulation can run at full capacity during the hottest part of the day (e.g 2 tons) and then switch down to a lower capacity (e.g. 1.3 tons) if needed, at night or on a warm, but not a “hot” day.

    3 The overall efficiency throughout the cooling season (SEER) for these modulating units is usually better than most fixed capacity systems which must be sized for the hottest day but cycle a lot at night. The lower capacity settings also feature lower and sometimes longer indoor blower settings and are thus pretty quiet too on the low stage when you are trying to sleep. They also generally use less energy when running at the lower capacity which makes them more efficient.

    4 Since you are already invested in a new system you might try turning the temperature setting down a little at night and letting the fan run all night. If this is a constant problem, maybe a programmable thermostat could do this for you automatically. Using dehumidifiers during the humid season might be another option to avoid further investment in a totally new system.

    Here are a few articles from our site that might provide more information.
    http://www.ac-heatingconnect.com/why-humidity-control-is-important-in-the-cooling-season-2/
    http://www.ac-heatingconnect.com/what-factors-affect-my-comfort/
    http://www.ac-heatingconnect.com/homeowner-comparing-options-for-cooling-your-home/
    http://www.ac-heatingconnect.com/hvac-glossary-of-terms/

  27. Sir,

    We have the split units(2 Ton) ,2 Star with R 22 Gas, Now we would like to change with 407C Gas.

    What are all the parts to be replaced?
    Is there any power savings in this, by converting to 407C Gas?

    Please help me.

    Thank you.

    • Not sure if you are meaning to refer to R-410A, but I will answer your question as written. R-407C is about -5% below R-22 in both refrigerant performance and capacity. When converting to R-407C, I would verify that the compressor oil is compatible (POE) along with the metering device. If these are not compatible they will need to be replaced. One other area to keep in mind is that R-407C has a refrigerant glide of 4.5°C, So make sure you are using the correct saturation column on the P/T chart when charging.

      Good luck with your conversion,
      Scott

  28. My system was converted to a dual zone about 12 years ago. A new evaporator as well as new copper was installed and connected to an existing r22 compressor. The 20 year old compressor died recently requiring a new compressor. Should I go with a 13 seer 2 ton r22 unit or get a new 16 seer r410a system that requires all new tubing as well as an new evaporator. The cost difference is over $1700. Please advise. Thanks

    • 20 years is an exceptional service life span, and you truly got your money’s worth out of the system. The existing “new coil” has 8+ years life on it, and under normal circumstances this would be half way through it appliance life span. Although $1700 is a lot of money upfront, it is a small price to pay for potentially another 20 years of superior comfort. I would also make sure the 16 SEER system you are considering has at least two steps of compressor capacity modulation (most do, but some don’t). This is especially important if you want to zone off rooms. Capacity modulation also helps with temperature swings and humidity reduction if you live in an area where that can be a problem.

  29. hi sir is it possibel to top up unit charged with 410 gas if there is small leakage after fixing that can we add [ top up] the airconditioin

  30. It is common to add refrigerant back to the system after repairing a leak – including R-410A. However, in these situations is it important to make sure you are recharging with the same refrigerant that was in the system originally or an approved equivalent refrigerant which may have some unique recharging guidelines as specified by the system manufacturer. It is also important to insure that you get the proper charge level back into the system. Here is some information with a link to a mobile phone app that many contractors use to achieve proper charge levels.
    http://www.emersonclimate.com/en-US/Resources/Mobile_Apps/Pages/HVAC_Check_Charge.aspx

  31. I was recently told by an HVAC contractor that my AC unit had a R410a based compressor installed on a R22 based system. Unfortunately I can’t confirm this since he has taken away the old compressor.

    Is this even possible? How could the AC have performed for two years in that configuration. The unit is a Goodman and designated as R22

    The unit is still under warranty and I suspect the contractor and supply house are colluding to get me to pay the full cost of the new R22 compressor by claiming that Goodman says they won’t honor the warranty since the wrong compressor was put in.

    Please help

    • Operating an approved R-410A compressor within a system designed for, and using R-22 refrigerant could shorten the compressor’s life span. But sometimes, even the wrong replacement compressor will run for a while. But this misapplication will run inefficiently, at a lower capacity (-30% to -40%) and could have potential problems that show up later.

      It might be a good idea to get another opinion from a different contractor about your system.

  32. Replacing inside and outside unit. Everything I read says change to 410a. Are there any advantages to replacing with r22?

  33. If you are replacing both indoor and outdoor units then you really only have the R-410A option. R-22 is only allowed in repair situations where only the outdoor is changed. This ban on R22 in new installations was part of the Montreal Protocol that went into effect in 2010 since R22 is harmful to the ozone. In the long run you should be better off with R-410A since R22 refrigerant is likely to become less available and more expensive in the future in case you need your system repaired at some point. R22 and R-410A systems are equivalent and both will provide the same rated efficiency as appears on the label. However, you might have more high efficiency options with R-410A than R-22 since only repair units (dry charge) are supposed to be available as new production. Hope this helps.

  34. I have a high efficiency Ruud gas furnace which was installed about 16 years ago and included an enclosure for evaporator coil. I would like to install a coil and buy a 3-ton condensing unit. I prefer R-410 and all pieces will be new. My problem is that the evaporator enclosure is not very tall so most coils will not fit. I did find a Rheem unit which matches the model originally listed for the furnace. However, I am sure it is for R-22. Three questions: 1) if the coil is purchased dry, with just a nitrogen purge, could the expansion valve be changed to get full efficiency from R-410? 2) If the unit comes with some refrigerant in it, can it be purged effectively to work with R-410? 3) Are there pressure or heat transfer issues (ex: exposed fin area) which are arguments for not using an R-22 evaporator with R-410? Thank you for any tips!

  35. You are actually dealing with two regulations – one is the R-22 phase out for new systems that happened in 2010 and the other is the new regulated minimum efficiency level of 13 SEER which happened in 2006. The 13 SEER systems (both indoor and outdoor) are usually larger than the older, lower SEER systems and that is probably what is driving your indoor fit up problem.

    Considering your furnace is 16 years old, you might want to consider replacing it now, along with upgrading to a more current model for the whole system. Another approach might be to consider “dual fuel” system, which is a heat pump that does both heating and cooling, but allows the contractor to retrofit your old gas furnace (or a new one) to use gas heat for auxiliary heating on really cold days. We also recommend a 16 SEER or greater SEER AC system with at least two steps of cooling capacity to provide the best comfort and humidity control, but keep in mind this would also require a new indoor unit. All these options depend on where you live and your individual heating and cooling needs. Your HVAC contractor should be able to advise you on these to help you get a system that will work best for you.

    If you decide to stay with your current furnace, here are some answers to your posted questions.

    1. All new coils are supposed to only be approved for use with R-410A as part of the Montreal Protocol, R-22 phase-out for new equipment in 2010). If you have an R-22 coil it is either one left over from pre-2010 or it might be a used coil from other equipment. Some R-22 coils can be retrofitted with expansion devices to be suitable for R-410A. I am not sure about taking an R410A coil back to R-22 but I guess it is possible. In any case, the efficiency will be dependent on the coil size, fin size and spacing, and installing the right expansion device in addition to the refrigerant. It all has to work together.
    2. There is a process for flushing out an old coil and lines to remove the old oil. Note, all of the refrigerant would have evaporated from an old coil if opened for any length of time but some oil usually remains. R-22 systems use mineral oil and R-410A can only be used with synthetic POE oil. Flushing the coil before retrofitting refrigerants is important, especially when going from R-22 to R-410A. When converting a mineral oil system to POE, the total amount of residual mineral oil should be kept to a minimum.
    3. R-410A is a higher pressure refrigerant so the newer coils are designed to handle it. Some R-22 coils were designed to handle both, but older R-22 coils were only designed for lower pressures so you should not use those with higher pressure R-410A.

    I hope this information helps with your decision.

  36. Thank you so much for your advice. The coil was confirmed to be new and there is a TXV to work with R-410A available, but I would be concerned about the extra pressure and the reduced fin area. I think I have found a solution. I can cut into the ductwork to raise the effective height of the evaporator to allow a modern R-410A coil. I am getting a condensing unit to match for a 16 SEER rating. I considered changing out the furnace but it is already a “high-90′s” efficient furnace (exhaust from combustion is barely warm to my hand). Also, we are in Oregon where our heating season is pretty mild so our furnace has very little wear and probably lots of years left (hopefully!).

    Thanks again!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>