Understanding the Differences Between R401A Refrigerant and R22

September 19, 2022
AC unit's in Cave Creek, AZ

If the air conditioner in your Carefree, Arizona, home still uses R22, now is a good time to start planning for AC replacement. In 2010, the sale of new R22 air conditioners was banned in the United States. In 2020, both the import of R22 and its domestic production were outlawed. With R401A being the current industry replacement, it’s important to understand how R22 and R401A measure up and why upgrading your home cooling system is the right choice.

Why Was R22 Banned?

Branded by DuPont as Freon, R22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC). HCFCs are currently recognized as harmful, ozone-depleting chemicals. Not only are they bad for the environment but they’re also being phased out in all applications across both the private and public sector with the goal of eliminating them entirely by 2030. However, given the fact that nearly all residential air conditioners used R22 in the early 2000s, regulatory authorities opted to gradually phase Freon out.

Is R401A Better for the Environment?

R401A was developed by Carrier Corporation and branded as Puron in 1996. Unlike R22, R401A doesn’t harm the earth’s ozone layer. It has a unique chemical composition and is classed as a non-oxygen-depleting hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) instead.

However, R401A does moderately contribute to greenhouse gases. Thus, although it is considered to be a major step up from Freon in terms of its environmental impact, Puron is not entirely without environmental issues.

Is R401A Better for Air Conditioners?

Beyond being markedly better for the environment, Puron is also better for air conditioners. This is largely due to its superior heat absorption abilities. Puron both absorbs more heat than Freon and releases more heat. This in turn keeps AC compressors cooler.

Cooler compressor temperatures limit ongoing wear, extend the lifespan of these important components, and prevent problems with overheating and burnout. Puron is also superior to Freon in terms of the compressor lubricant that it uses. While R22 air conditioners use a mineral oil lubricant in their compressors, R401A air conditioners use a high-performing synthetic oil. This oil further streamlines and improves AC compressor functions.

Making the switch to R401A is a great way to limit the environmental impact of your home’s air conditioner. With the added compressor protection that Puron provides, this transition can also extend the lifespan of your home cooling equipment.

Residents of Carefree, Arizona, and the surrounding cities can count on Vent Masters for superior HVAC service. We offer heating and cooling system installation, maintenance, and repairs. We also provide cutting-edge indoor air quality solutions. To schedule an appointment, give us a call today.

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