Until 2010, R-22 was the most frequently used refrigerant in air conditioners unfortunately R-22 has been proven to cause ozone depletion and now is considered an Ozone-Depleting-Substance (ODS).
If your AC was built and installed before January 1, 2010, there’s a good chance that it uses R-22 refrigerant.
Due to this, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) required manufacturers to phase out R-22 use, and in 2015 R-410A became the standard refrigerant used.
Wondering whether you can switch from R-22 to R-410A in your AC system?
You cannot just switch refrigerants because R410-A and R-22 have different chemical properties. Also, R410-A operates at a higher pressure, adding R410-A into an R-22 system rated for lower pressures.
The good news is that you can still use your system but it’s essential to maintain it and make sure it has no leaks. Requesting a service technician to locate and repair leaks, and recharge systems is no longer permitted.
If you wanted to convert your current system, the cost would be higher as you’ll need to replace the condenser, evaporator, and the lineset, with equipment that is suitable for R410-A.
Additionally, using any other refrigerant than what is listed on the unit nameplate voids the safety certification of the system.
Unfortunately, a bad retrofit and system modification could potentially cost you more than installing a new R410-A, so it would be definitely more cost-effective to put that money toward an upgraded system designed for R410-A.
Advantages of R-410A
Because R-410A absorbs and releases more heat than R-22, your compressor can operate at a cooler temperature, which reduces overheating and the risk of the compressor burning out.
AC units need oil to lubricate the compressor during operation. R-22 units use mineral oil, whereas R410-A units use synthetic oil. The synthetic oil mixes better with R410-A compared to mineral oil and R-22; which helps the system run more efficiently and reduces wear and tear on the compressor.
Looking for what’s best for you and your family?
At Sherwood Mechanical, we understand that the R-22 refrigerant phase-out might cause a lot of headaches and unexpected expenses for system owners. Feel free to reach out to us at any time for advice – our team of professionals can answer your questions.