AC Refrigerant Types: What’s In Use Today

An AC refrigerant, such as the prevalent r-134a or its replacement, r-32, is the gas that furnishes your air conditioner with the power to cool your home, controlling the temperature to your liking. It works by leveraging a complex interplay of various equipment and materials, including traces of substances like chlorine. Indeed, this is a vital part in various air conditioning and appliance repairs in the area, and refrigeration systems and heat pumps that make our homes comfortable in the US, falling into the categories of HVAC system essentials.

These systems operate using intricate coils, affecting the gwp (Global Warming Potential) and make a considerable difference in the eco-friendliness of your home. As a result, a list of suitable refrigerants becomes a must for any conscious homeowner or technician. The refrigerant, composed largely of substances like hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), exists in a liquid state within your AC unit’s various systems and parts.

Technicians, bearing the name of climate control maintainers, work to ensure this element is maintained in the intricate process of HVAC (Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning). Here, the AC refrigerant absorbs heat from the internal space of your home and then capitalizes on that hot air to produce the cool breeze that brings comfort to your living space.

How to Tell What Type of Home AC Refrigerant My Unit Takes

But many homeowners treat this cooling agent—referred to as air conditioner refrigerant—as an afterthought when riding the wave of a new AC unit’s installation or undertaking a repair service. This oversight can lead to various complications and appliance repairs down the road, underscoring the importance of having a comprehensive understanding of your AC unit’s function. The cost of this oversight, however, can be high, and such issues can often be avoided through a diligent search for professional advice.

The rights of homeowners to choose their preferred refrigerants, however, are shifting with evolving environmental regulations. For instance, older refrigerant types such as the ozone-depletion causing hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) are being phased out and replaced by safer, non-ozone depleting more efficient versions. The type you choose can indeed impact your bills dramatically.

Installation of HVAC components such as heat pumps and air conditioning systems is usually oversaw by professional technicians and are clearly marked to identify the refrigerant type they use. Manufacturers often provide a list of the contents, thereby simplifying the search for homeowners seeking to make informed choices about their HVAC instillations.

It’s critical to note, the use of an incorrect refrigerant type could potentially result in severe damage, reinforcing the cruciality of its role and why it should not be an afterthought.

Types of Refrigerant Used in AC Nowadays

Refrigerant mishandling could lead to potential harm. Therefore, buying an air conditioner refrigerant or replacement requires rights, such as a professional license — in most jurisdictions, because they are dangerous to handle and their disposal needs to be monitored to limit potential environmental damage.


With extensive research and advancements in the field, the world is shifting more towards the use of HFCs. These refrigerants, like r-134a, have been praised for their more favorable properties compared to HCFCs. For example, they offer better cooling abilities and are less environmentally destructive, making them an essential component in both older houses and modern homes’ HVAC installations.

Most older, pre-existing AC units and air conditioners still use the HCFCs, even though they are being phased out. But with new products on the market, the replacement process is becoming increasingly simple, allowing homeowners to make an environmentally friendly and cost-effective transition and thereby increasing the comfort and lowering the need for frequent appliance repairs in their homes.However, because the regulations and the nature of the refrigerants are added by the buyer, new “dry-charge” units can circumvent the Montreal Protocol restrictions. Many HVAC system companies have incorporated alternative blends into their offerings including some specific models by manufacturers such as Whirlpool, known for their robust washers and ranges. These alternatives appeal to customers and often employ a condenser operating under specific pressure conditions, like a filter mechanism. However, experts, including those from appliance repair services, often comment on the negative effects these blends can have on the environment due to certain temperatures affecting their cooling process. They consider areas of air quality and the greenhouse gas effect as critical factors to consider in this case, citing the need for future appointment scheduling for regular maintenance.

Types of Refrigerant That Are Being Phased Out

Despite the stockpiles of certain types of refrigerants that have been banned, you might still be able to purchase them from the manufacturer’s site. But rather than choosing this option, it may be more beneficial in the long run to upgrade your AC to using more efficient and less environmentally damaging HFCs. Numerous reviews from HVAC systems users and services providers alike highlight the positive effect of such a switch, in terms of orderly and efficient operation.


If you decide to replace your old heat pump or air conditioning system entirely with more environmentally-friendly options, you won’t have to worry about running out of refrigerant in the future. Professionals from appliance repair services are always ready to help with such installations. This allows for more energy efficiency, the dependability of a newer unit, and increased cooling power, which could save you money in the long run. According to reports from leading companies in the field, when it comes to cooling your home, making the correct eco-friendly choice can also yield significant financial benefits.

What to Do If Your Refrigerant Type Is Banned

HCFCs are in the process of being phased out. But most older, pre-existing AC units and air conditioners still use them, along with new “dry-charge” units that circumvent the Montreal Protocol restrictions because the refrigerants are added by the buyer. However, as many experts from the appliance repair services point out, the destructive effects on the ozone layer and air quality give a solid reason for this phase-out.

Freon™ 22, a whirlpool of sorts, also known commercially as R22 or HCFC-22, is a popular ingredient in most older AC units. Known for their non-flammable and non-toxic nature, R-22 models have been hailed for their low heat transfer coefficient making it an ideal refrigerant for home AC use. However, experts comment that alternatives must be considered due to its harmful effect on the ozone layer.