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

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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

Compare R-22 and R-410A refrigerants

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

    • The evaporator in the indoor unit might be approved for use with R410a, however, the expansion device in that unit is likely not approved and would need to be replaced. It is recommended that you contact an authorized dealer/contractor of the indoor unit manufacturer to determine compatibility.

  1. I had new out door of 410 and new indoor of r22 can I use it in one set. It is advisable or not to use it. Reply me immediately please.

    • The indoor unit would need to be designed for use with R410a as it would have a different expansion device for the higher pressure refrigerant.

  2. If I plan to upgrade my heat pump for increased efficiency and R410A, What parts of my evaporator inside must I consider changing?
    Currently on an R22 system

    • If you’re aiming for higher efficiency, it might be best to upgrade the entire evaporator. But I wonder, how old is your heat pump? It might be new enough that an upgrade wouldn’t make a big difference.

      Also, changing to R410a shouldn’t be a reason for upgrading. It’s hard to find concrete numbers but I remember hearing that an R22 heat pump might be able to extract more heat than an R410a model. At any rate, and I say this for both AC and heat pumps, if an R22 system still works well then you should keep it.

      • My system is a Goodman 13 seer, 3 ton heat pump. It still perform well. The only maintenance issue has been a compressor motor start capacitor. It is over 10 years old.
        The air handler includes a variable speed direct drive blower. I have posted a question to Goodman to find out if the air handler can be retrofitted for R410A.
        Will let you know.

        • keep in mind that if you mix any of the R22 and R410 the refrigerant will turn into a slush and block the filter

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