R22 Versus R410 Refrigerant
“9 out of 10 contractors I spoke with would rather repair and install R22 air conditioners.”
The great refrigerant debate continues. Well, it’s not so great anymore. R22 refrigerant is dead -all hale R410A! In 1992, the international environmental agreement named Montreal Protocol amended its worldwide phase-out of to include ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC). There’s a triple score scrabble word for you!
R22 is a greenhouse gas and the manufacturing of it results in the by-product HFC23 that is a contributor to global warming. On January 1st, 2010 manufacturers will not be able to manufacture air conditioners using R22 refrigerant. In preparation, air conditioner manufacturers have started supplementing other refrigerants in place of R22 like the new and improved R410A.
R410 refrigerant is a combination to two gases that does not contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer, but like R22 still contributes to global warming. We’re making some progress.
If I am looking for a new ductless air conditioner which refrigerant do I choose?
It’s obvious, isn’t it? R410A. Not so fast, 90% of the window and through wall air conditioners are only available in R22. R410A still doesn’t have the excellent track record that R22 has and is proven to be less efficient at higher temperatures.
R22 will be around for a very long time. It will still be manufactured for the replacement and repair market until 2020. After 2020, manufacturing of R22 will be finished, but recycled refrigerants will still be around to service your air conditioner.
If I was purchasing a window unit I would still purchase a R22 unit. There is a minimum of 15 years of life for R22 and I’m pretty sure R22 will out live my air conditioner.
9 out of 10 contractors I spoke with would rather repair and install R22 air conditioners. They have worked with it longer and they do not have to mix chemicals to create the R410A. If there is a leak in a R22 air conditioners contractors add refrigerant. If there is a leak in a R410A air conditioner they have to vacuum the system and re-pressurize with new refrigeration at the correct mixture.
I’m sure R22 refrigerant will increase in price little by little as manufacturing is reduced but most R410A window air conditioners are more expensive than R22 air conditioners.
If I am purchasing a ductless mini split air conditioner I would lean towards the R410A unit. There are enough contractors who have worked with it over the past few years installing mini split systems that I feel comfortable recommending it for split system air conditioners.
Both refrigerants have positives and negatives for ductless air conditioners consumers and all indications show that R410A will be the next generation of R22. Let’s hope it has the consumer life span of R22.
Feel free to leave questions or comments about this article.