Goodbye R-22! Replacing Your AC Refrigerant

In January 2015, the federal government started the phase-out of the refrigerant R-22. This is a refrigerant that is commonly used in home air conditioners. Does that mean it’s time to replace your AC?

The phase-out of both manufactured and imported R-22 as an air conditioning refrigerant is part of the government’s commitment to reduce the effect of greenhouse gasses on the environment. The phase-out is scheduled to be completed by 2020.

An article in the ACHR News gives a good account of the R-22 Phaseout Plan. Over the next few years, as R-22 becomes scarce, its price will continue to increase. If your air conditioner uses R-22, the change might not affect you immediately unless there is a leak in your system which calls for the replacement of the refrigerant. However, in time, you will eventually have to look at alternative refrigerants to replace your current system.

The Different Types of Refrigerant for Commercial AC Systems

  • R-22. It is a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) and contributes to the depletion of the earth’s ozone layer.
  • R-410A. Common brand names for this refrigerant are Puron, Suva1900 and GenetronAZ-20. It is a hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) that has been approved by the Environmental Protection Agency for use in new AC systems, as it does not contribute to ozone depletion. The operating pressures of R-410A are over 50% higher than R-22, so your present system would need to be able to withstand these higher pressures.
  • R-407C. This has brand names like Suva407C or Genetron407C. As an HFC it doesn’t affect the ozone layer. This refrigerant most closely matches the operating characteristics of R-22. It, therefore, offers the easiest conversion from R-22.
  • R-134a. This HFC refrigerant is widely used for air conditioning and refrigeration throughout the world. It was the first ozone-friendly fluorocarbon to be used in commercial applications.

Why We Recommend R-410A Refrigerant

The general consensus in the industry is that R-410A presents the best long-term solution for residential and light commercial use. R-410A can absorb and release more heat than R-22. The air conditioning compressor can operate at a cooler temperature with this refrigerant, which reduces the risk of burnout.

Manufacturers have taken a liking to R-410A because of its energy efficiency properties. Components for the manufacture of R-410A systems are now widely available. However, R-410A cannot be used as a replacement in a system designed for R-22 use because its operating pressures are too high.

The phase-out of R-22 as a viable air conditioning refrigerant presents an opportunity for homeowners to take advantage of new technology that will lower utility costs. If you have any concerns with your current system, contact an air conditioning company in Las Vegas who will go over the options with you.