Refrigerant laws are changing. If you have an air conditioner or heat pump, it’s helpful to be familiar with the differences in refrigerants R-22 and R-410A. If you haven’t been hearing about these refrigerants, it’s likely that you will be.
R-22 has long been used in air conditioners and heat pumps. It moves heat out of the home, transferring it to the outdoors. But not all refrigerants are the same. Namely, refrigerant R-22 has been shown to deplete the Earth’s ozone layer and contribute greenhouse gases to the environment, speeding up global warming.

In 1987, an international treaty, the Montreal Protocol, was adopted to eliminate the production of ozone-depleting chemicals. As a result, the U.S. government has taken steps to ban the use of R-22, and the Environmental Protection Agency has developed a schedule for phasing out production of this refrigerant. All R-22 manufacturing in the United States will be ceased by 2020. Only R-22 that is on hand or has been recycled will be available for use in older air conditioners and heat pumps. If the terms of the treaty are honored worldwide, the ozone layer would be expected to recover by 2050.

You should become familiar with refrigerants R-22 and R-410A, as the latter has been earmarked to replace the old one. Here’s what you need to know:

R-22

  • It’s a hydrochlorofluorocarbon known to deplete the ozone and emit greenhouse gases.
  • Since 2010, the U.S. EPA has stopped production of equipment using R-22.
  • It’s currently used in the majority of HVAC systems across the country.

R-410A

  • This is generally the refrigerant targeted to replace R-22.
  • It has been deemed environmentally friendly, as compared with R-22, and it is not an HCFC compound.
  • All air conditioners and heat pumps manufactured after 2010 now use the safer refrigerant R-410A.
  • You cannot use R-410A in a system designed for use with R-22, and vice versa.

For more expert advice about refrigerants R-22 and R-410A, contact Apollo Home Heating, Cooling & Plumbing. We serve homeowners in greater Cincinnati.

Image via Shutterstock.com