Air conditioner refrigerant types
There are many air conditioner refrigerant types, including R-22, R-410A and R-32. The latter is much more environmentally friendly and popular for modern AC systems.
R-22 vs R-410a vs R-32 refrigerant
Let’s begin by looking at R-22. Now, the type of refrigerant in your air conditioning system depends on how old it is. If your air conditioning unit is more than 10 years old, there’s a good chance it uses R-22 refrigerant, commonly known as “Freon.”
After years of using R-22 in air conditioning units of all sizes, it was discovered that this refrigerant is a dangerous chemical contributing to the thinning of the ozone layer.
Since 2015, The EC Ozone Regulation was introduced in the UK to help phase out hydrochlorofluorocarbon’s (HCFC’s), including the use of R-22 refrigerant. It’s now illegal to use new, recycled, or reclaimed R-22 to maintain or repair air conditioning systems and units. In the coming years, more regulations will come in to limit the use of HCFCs in refrigeration by 2030. The overall aim is to shift to climate-friendly technology wherever possible.
If you are currently using a system that utilises R-22 and are wanting to continue using it, then it’s best to start planning for a new system before a repair is needed on your current unit. R-22 refrigeration repairs are illegal in the UK. So, a new system will need to be installed. But you will benefit from being able to make significant savings with a modern-day air conditioner.
One of the most common air conditioner refrigerant types used to replace R-22 is R-410A. It’s been a much-preferred refrigerant since its invention and is far superior to older refrigerants for various reasons.
R-410A works at a higher pressure than other refrigerants. The compressors can withstand a significant amount of vibration, allowing for a longer lifespan. Not to mention, it emits zero ozone-depleting chemicals. Here are some other reasons R-410A is a preferred refrigerant choice:
- It possesses a non-flammable chemical structure, unlike early refrigerants.
- It’s non-corrosive – limiting hardware damage.
- This refrigerant works with several types of tubing, including copper, brass, and steel.
- It’s non-toxic, making it safe to use in populated buildings.
- The production of R-410A is much cheaper than R-22. It’s also much more cost-effective and efficient for you in the long run.
If you haven’t already, we recommend upgrading your old system. Please don’t hesitate to get in touch if you have any questions.
A third refrigerant we would like to mention is the environmentalist’s favourite, R-32. This refrigerant also provides significant benefits. So much so that industry leaders, Daikin, implemented the use of R-32 in all of its modern-day air conditioners. This choice was quickly followed by other well-known manufactures across the industry.
R-32 is a new generation of refrigerant that efficiently circulates between indoor and outdoor units, while actively reducing electricity consumption up to as much as 10% compared to air conditioners using existing R-22 refrigerant. It’s also far more energy-efficient than other refrigerants on the market and has a global warming potential (GWP) that is two-thirds lower than comparable products. The GWP of R-32 is 675 compared to R-410A which has a GWP of 2088.
Since R-32 has a lower density than R-410A, a lower quantity of R-32 is used in air conditioners. In other words, every time your AC runs ‘out of gas’, it can be ‘re-charged’ with smaller amounts of R-32.