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What are the refrigerants used today in air conditioners?

One of the topics that keep coming up during my conversations is, Hey Fast Affordable Air, What are the refrigerants used today in air conditioners? It turns out that the refrigerant used in air conditioners has changed significantly over the years, and the industry has been transitioning away from using R-22 refrigerant in favor of more environmentally friendly refrigerants.

R-22 has been used in air conditioners since the 1960s and has been known to be highly effective at cooling, but it has a number of environmental drawbacks. It is known to be a major contributor to global warming, and it is also a known ozone-depleting substance. As a result, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has been phasing out the use of R-22 since 2010 and it is no longer produced in the U.S., although it can still be purchased in limited quantities.

In its place, the EPA recommends using more environmentally friendly refrigerants, such as R-410A, R-407C, and R-32. These refrigerants are known to have much lower global warming potential than R-22 and do not have the same level of ozone-depleting effects. Additionally, they are capable of providing the same levels of cooling efficiency as R-22.

Now, 410A is being phased out. The new refrigerant(s) to replace it will operate at similar pressures and temperatures.  When R-22 was transitioned out, it required a complete overhaul of the entire refrigerant system. This meant the compressor was changed. The coil size and dimensions were changed. The good news is the new refrigerants will work in the existing compressors and coils.

We have for some time used substitute refrigerants on R-22 systems. R438a, R44, r407c, and a list of other options are readily available and less dangerous to the environment.  Though they do work with R-22 compressors and coils they are not quite as efficient at cooling in ambient temperatures over 107 degrees. Some systems will notice a lowered Delta T cooling. If your system is properly charged with refrigerant it should be able to cool the air by 20 degrees. This performance will reduce to 18 to 15 degrees as the outdoor ambient rises above 107 degrees.

For homeowners, the shift to newer refrigerants means that those with older air conditioners that use R-22 should consider replacing their units with newer models that use one of the approved refrigerants. Additionally, it is important to be aware of the fact that technicians who are certified to work on air conditioners must be trained to handle the newer refrigerants, so homeowners should make sure that their service technicians are up to date on the latest regulations. Overall, the shift away from R-22 is a positive development for the environment, and it is important for homeowners to be aware of the changes and to make sure that their air conditioners are running as efficiently and safely as possible.