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

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Comparing Refrigerants Side-by-Side

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

  1. R-410a is a terrible refrigerant. It costs more to run than r-22 and also the oil it uses is horribly absorbant of moisture. Just look at your rating amps on the nameplate. 410A uses more amps than 22. You will spend more money and have more problems with 410a systems. Biggest reason. Failures on the installation. Poor install techniques like not running nitrogen through the lines when brazing. Not getting the required 400 microns on pump down. Sizing units totally wrong. not using a txv and installing the wrong piston. Wrong blower motor setup. poor duct design and trying to compensate with oversized AC. the list goes on. R-410a is the worst refrigerant I have come across.

  2. I would think that using coils designed for R22 operating pressures would not be wise for two reasons. First, R410a has a much higher operating pressure and second, AC coil design attempts to minimize wall thickness to help reduce material costs and improve heat transfer. Using a the lower pressure R22 coils would be inviting failure. Regarding rolling back the phase out of R22 and allowing its exceptional negative impact, might not be a good idea even if it makes a few dozen people happy. The science is solid except to those who are inconvenienced. (An inconvenient truth? Sorry.)

  3. I had a new unit put in 2 years ago with the 410a Freon and the low side coil going from the A- cool to the condenser never has condensation on the line when it’s hot and humid , is this normal with this new Freon?

  4. I was wondering if you switch out your condensing unit and A coil from R22 to the new R- 410A refrigerant is it necessary to install all new line
    Sets to make sure that the two refrigerants aren’t commingled?

  5. That would be great if he did but I don’t think that issue is on his plate and probably never will be. It’s my understand that AC77 is a “drop in” replacement for R22 and that is what I’ll be using if/when I cannot get R22 anymore, or if it’s just outrageously expensive.

  6. While it might not be recommended. Is there any technical data stating that a r22 evap coil will not work with a 410a condenser?
    Would this cause the electrical pin to out and release Freon?

  7. while it may not be recommended, is there any data that states that an r22 evap coil will not work with a 410a condenser? Would this cause the electrical connector pin to out and release Freon?

  8. Pingback: How Much Does a Home AC Compressor Cost?

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