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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Purchasing an HVAC System? The Differences Between A/C Refrigerants

Posted by Paul Wadsworth on Mon, Jun 30, 2014 @ 08:30 AM

purchase hvac equipment upgradeOne of the biggest developments in the HVAC industry in recent years has been the changeover from R-22 refrigerant to R-410A. The latter is the latest in environmentally-friendly refrigerants for residential and commercial HVAC systems. It’s also the new standard for residential air conditioning systems throughout the U.S. by 2015.

Air conditioning and heat pump equipment manufactured today features R-410A refrigerant. Like R-22, the non-flammable gas is instrumental in absorbing and transferring heat from the surrounding indoor air. By channeling heat efficiently, a R-410A-equipped unit provides greater cooling capabilities with a lower energy consumption than its older counterpart.

As a homeowner looking to purchase a new HVAC system or upgrade a current system, it’s important to understand the differences between R-22 and R-410A:

  • R-22 contains hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), a chemical compound linked to ozone depletion. R-410A is designed to be HCFC-free.  This is why its use is being phased out.
  • Systems charged with R-410A are designed to operate at higher pressures than those intended for R-22.
  • R-22 uses mineral oil as a lubricant, whereas R-410A relies on synthetic oil.
  • Neither the refrigerant nor the lubricants they use are compatible with one another.  Your HVAC contractor ought to use special procedures to make sure any re-used components are thoroughly cleaned before connecting a new 410A system.  Or if possible replace all of the refrigerant contact components in the system. 

Since the production of R-22 was recently discontinued, supplies of the refrigerant are limited and will likely continue to shrink. The cost of recharging R-22 systems is also expected to increase due to limited supply.

Knowing the difference between R-22 and R-410A is especially important when it comes to the purchase and service of today’s central air conditioners and heat pumps. Fortunately, your contractor has the tools and expertise to address both types of refrigerants as needed.

For more information on the difference between R-22 and R-410A, or for other home comfort concerns, contact the professionals at P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling. We proudly serve the greater Cleveland area with excellent service and expertise.

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Paul WadsworthPaul Wadsworth is the President and Owner of P.K. Wadsworth Heating and Cooling. For 37 years, Paul has been providing heating and cooling services to the Greater Cleveland area. P.K. Wadsworth has been a trusted Cleveland HVAC service company for over 75 years. The company understand the area's construction and local heating and air conditioning needs. Paul has an MBA from the University of Michigan and a B.S., Industrial Engineering from Purdue University. Paul is the Chairman of COSE's Energy Advisory Council. He's been President of the Cleveland Air Conditioning Contractors of America and a founding member of the local chapter. Paul was born and raised in Cleveland and has been active in the local community. He resides in Cleveland, Ohio with his wife and two sons.

The opinions and statements contained in this article are for general informational purposes only and are not instructions. Only trained, licensed and experienced personnel should attempt installation/repair. The author assumes no liability for the opinions/statements made in this article. Any individual attempting a repair or installation based on this article does so at their own risk of loss.

Topics: central air conditioner, HVAC system, difference between R-22 and R-410A, heat pump

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