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January 24, 2017

Freon (R-22) and Puron (R-410A) are two types of trademarked refrigerants developed by DuPont and Carrier respectively. If you own a heat pump or air conditioner, it’s important to understand the differences between these refrigerants.

Ozone-Depleting Freon

Between 1930 and 1996, R-22 was the standard choice for air conditioning systems. After decades of use, evidence emerged that R-22 and other chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were depleting the ozone layer. These products are still being phased out 30 years after world leaders agreed to ban production.

By 2020, only recycled and reclaimed R-22 will be sold. At that time, if you have an older system that’s low on refrigerant or has a leak, you’ll pay more to have it recharged. Only EPA-registered HVAC technicians can purchase and handle R-22. Your Winkelman Heating and Air Conditioning technician can also reclaim refrigerant and transport it to an approved recovery center near Dumas, Texas.

Ozone-Friendly Refrigerants

R-410A was invented in 1991 and used commercially by 1996. This chemical is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) that uses fluorine instead of chlorine or bromine. It’s technically a blend of HFC-32 and HFC-125. Other trade names include Suva, EcoFluor and Genetron. R-410A operates at higher pressures. Because it’s less stable, it breaks down before reaching the ozone layer. Although R-410A is a powerful greenhouse gas, it’s better for the environment than R-22 and generally costs less.

  • All heat pumps and air conditioners manufactured after 2010 use R-410A.
  • Some compressors manufactured between 1996 and 2010 use R-410A.
  • Older HVAC systems that use R-22 are marked with green labels.
  • Newer systems that use R-410A are color-coded pink.

Homeowners are not required to retrofit existing HVAC equipment. If you choose to update your existing air conditioner, you’ll need a new compressor. The coils must be designed for the higher operating pressures, and the crankcase should contain synthetic oil instead of mineral oil. Updating an existing system from freon to Puron would be very expensive. The long lead-in to Puron-only systems was designed not to burden homeowners to replace their systems before an actual need for a new system. Freon will continue to be available for recharging systems still using Freon.

For more information about having your HVAC system recharged, or if it’s time for a replacement, call Winkelman Heating and Air Conditioning at 806-553-4698.