Refrigerant Phase Out
If you have an older air conditioner or have had to add refrigerant in the past few years, then you have probably heard about the refrigerant phase out. There are hundreds of different kinds of refrigerant out there and they all have different applications. However, when it comes to residential air conditioning there are primarily two refrigerants we work with: R22 and R410A.
R22 Freon Refrigerant Phase Out
If your air conditioner was manufactured before 2010 then it likely uses R22 refrigerant. R22 is also known as “freon.” Under the U.S. Clean Air Act and the Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer, the United States is phasing out the production and import of hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) such as R-22. This phase out is taking place in an attempt to protect the stratospheric ozone layer. The prevailing theory is that the chlorine gas in R22 destroys ozone.
Starting on January 1, 2020, U.S. production and import of R22 will end, though you may continue to use R22 in your existing system for as long
as you choose. Most of our clients have decided to upgrade their ac to a new high efficiency air conditioner that uses R410A refrigerant. Since 2010 R22 prices have consistently increased, sometimes doubling year after year. If your air conditioner leaks refrigerant then you should probably consider upgrading too.
R410A Puron Refrigerant Phaseout
If your air conditioner was manufactured after 2010 then it likely uses R410A refrigerant. R410A is also known as “puron.” R410A is a zeotropic, but nearly azeotropic, mixture of difluoromethane and pentafluoroethane. The prevailing theory is that R410A does not destory the ozone like R22, but it contributes to greenhouse effect worse than R22. For this reason it is likely that in the near future R410A could be phased out and replaced with a new refrigerant like R290 (propane) or carbon dioxide. There has been no definitive response on this though and it is pure speculation.
R410A is much less expensive to work with than R22 since it has not been phased out yet. R410A air conditioners are generally more energy efficient, since they are newer and use larger coils. Neither R410A or R22 is more energy efficient than the other. The refrigerant used does not determine the energy efficiency. Energy efficiency is determined by an AHRI system match.
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