Until 2010, R-22 was the most frequently used refrigerant in air conditioners and heat pumps. Because R-22 causes ozone depletion, the Environmental Protection Agency required manufacturers to phase out its use. In 2015, R-410A became the standard refrigerant used. If you’re like many Amarillo homeowners, you’re wondering whether you can switch from R-22 to R-410A in your AC system. The answer is yes and no.
You cannot just switch refrigerants because R410-A and R-22 have different chemical properties. R410-A operates at a higher pressure. If you put R410-A into an R-22 system, the parts will rupture due to the increased force.
You can convert your current system to one that runs on R-410A, but the cost will be high. You’ll need to replace the compressor, condenser and evaporator, and probably the refrigerant tubing, with equipment that can handle R410-A. It would be more cost effective to put that money toward a new 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. A cooler temperature reduces overheating and your risk of compressor burnout.
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; this “better blend” means the R410-A units run more efficiently and reduce wear and tear on the compressor.
Manufacturers will stop producing R-22 in 2020. Although reclaimed or recycled R-22 will be available until 2030, the cost has risen significantly. If your current system uses R-22 and is less than 10 years old, it’s essential to maintain your system to protect against refrigerant leaks and the high service and repair costs of R-22.
To learn more about efficient ways to keep your Amarillo home cool and comfortable, check out the Bryant air conditioning systems we offer or call us at 806-553-4690.