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How Do I Know What Refrigerant My AC Uses?

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As mandated by the EPA, R-22 refrigerant is being phased out and will no longer be produced by manufacturers.

This poses a problem for homeowners who have an AC system that uses R-22 as it will become more difficult to buy this type of refrigerant.

Not only that but using outdated equipment can lead to higher energy bills due to inefficient cooling performance.

The best solution is to upgrade your air conditioning unit with one that uses the newer, more efficient R410-A refrigerant.

It's important for homeowners to know how to identify what type of refrigerant their AC system is on. Having this knowledge can be incredibly useful in cases when professional assistance is not immediately available.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about refrigerants and how to know which type your air conditioning unit is using.

What are Air Conditioning Refrigerants?

An air conditioning refrigerant is a chemical that is used in AC systems to transfer heat from inside your home to the outdoors.

An AC consists of an indoor evaporator coil and an outdoor condenser unit, connected by refrigerant lines.

When they’re working together properly, these components cause a chemical reaction with the refrigerant, which cools the air inside your home.

Types of Refrigerants: R-22 vs. R410-A

The two most common refrigerant types used in home ACs are R-22 and R410-A. Both these chemicals are fluorinated hydrocarbons that work to remove heat from the air.

R-22 refrigerant has been used in air conditioners since the 1950s and is now being phased out due to its ozone depletion potential.

R410-A, on the other hand, is a newer, more efficient alternative that doesn’t have as much of an environmental impact.

It also has a higher cooling capacity, meaning it can cool your home more effectively and efficiently than R-22.

Most new air conditioners are equipped with the latest R410-A refrigerant.

Identifying What Freon Type Your AC Uses

There are several ways for you to identify what refrigerant type your AC unit uses:

Checking Compressor Unit

The first thing you can do to find out what refrigerant your AC unit is using is to take a look at the compressor unit located outside.

There should be a label on the access panel containing the manufacturing information of your HVAC unit.

This includes the refrigerant or freon it uses.

R-22 refrigerant often appears as HCFC-22 on most compressor labels. Meanwhile, R410-A is written as is.

If your compressor unit doesn't have a label or if the label is too faded to read, you may use the other methods below.

Checking Manufacturing Date

Air conditioners were made with R-22 freon up until 2015.

If you have an old air conditioner at home that was manufactured around that time, it likely contains R-22.

Checking Installation Date

Another way to identify what refrigerant your AC uses is through its installation date.

If you know the installation date of your AC, you can use that to estimate what type of refrigerant it’s using.

Air conditioners installed before 2010 likely contain R-22, while those put in after have probably been manufactured with R410-A.

However, if you're not sure when your cooling system was connected, you may want to double-check with a professional HVAC technician.

Checking Product Manual

If your air conditioner came with a manual, it's likely to contain information about the refrigerant it uses.

This may also be available online if you have the model and a serial number of your air conditioner.

Contacting an HVAC Professional

If all else fails, you may want to get in touch with an experienced HVAC technician.

They can quickly identify what type of refrigerant your air conditioner is using and then provide advice on what steps should be taken next.

Fortunately, there are plenty of reputable HVAC repair services available in Portland if you need professional assistance.

Allow us to help you ensure your air conditioning units remain in tip-top shape all year round!

Reach out to us today to get a free quote.

Can You Mix R-22 with R410-A?

We have received plenty of questions from our clients regarding whether R-22 and R410-A can be mixed together.

While both compounds are fluorinated hydrocarbons, each requires different pressure charges in order to do their job properly.

R410-A requires much higher pressure charges than the R-22. So, combining them in a single AC unit would be calling for a disaster.

Mixing these refrigerants together can cause damage to your AC. Furthermore, it could reduce the life expectancy of your unit—costing you more in terms of replacements.

It’s important that you only use one type of refrigerant in your air conditioning system at all times.

Otherwise, you could experience reduced efficiency and other issues.

Can I Use R-22 in an R410-A Air Conditioner?

No, you can't use R-22 refrigerant in R410-A air conditioners.

This is because both have different chemical properties that require specific pieces of equipment for optimal performance.

For example, R410-A operates at a much higher pressure than R-22, so components designed for use with R-22 may not be able to handle the increased pressure associated with R410-A.

If you try to put R410-A into an existing system designed for R-22, the high pressure could cause the parts to rupture or malfunction, resulting in potentially costly repairs or even complete system failure.

In addition, the difference in chemical properties means that the type of lubricant used must also be changed when switching between refrigerants.

Using the wrong type of lubricant can result in damage to your system’s compressor and other components.

Trying to convert your current system to one running on R410-A is both difficult and expensive.

You will likely need to replace your entire air conditioning system – including the compressor, condenser, evaporator, and refrigerant tubing – with new parts designed for use with this higher-pressure refrigerant.

In most cases, it would be more cost-effective to put that money towards buying a brand-new air conditioning system that was specifically designed to run on R410-A from the start.

What Refrigerants are Compatible with R-22?

The four most common alternatives to R-22 are R-427A, R-438A, R-422D, and R-407C.

These replacement refrigerants often include some amount of leftover R-22 already mixed in due to the difficulty of completely removing it from the system.

Though such mixing has yet to cause a serious operational issue, experts advise against this practice as it goes against guidelines from the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) and EPA regulations.

Furthermore, any unforeseen consequences may differ from system to system.

In addition to these four main replacements for R-22, there is also a small selection of other viable alternatives such as NU 22B and Puron.

However, these more expensive options generally only make financial sense for larger commercial systems as they require special equipment and training for service technicians that can increase overall costs significantly.

Why is R-22 Refrigerant Being Phased Out?

R-22 is being phased out due to its high levels of ozone-depleting chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) content.

These CFCs are linked to global warming and can have serious consequences on the environment—as well as the earth's ozone layer.

Thus, the United States government has banned the production of R-22 by all manufacturers since 2020.

Since then, the price of R-22 refrigerant has skyrocketed due to limited availability.

If you want to save money on future repairs, switching to a new air conditioning unit today might be the best option.

What Do I Do If My AC Is Still On R-22?

If your air conditioner still uses R-22, the best option would be to switch it out for a newer model that runs on R410-A.

This will not only help you save money in the long run but also help reduce your impact on the environment.

What If I Want to Keep My Older HVAC System?

We understand that not everyone has the resources or means to immediately get their air conditioning systems replaced.

If you're one of the many people who would like to make the most out of their older HVAC unit, your best bet is to get it regularly maintained and repaired.

Refrigerants like R-22 don't require refills unless it's in response to refrigerant leaks.

As such, you may continue using your air conditioner, until the time you have enough to get a brand-new replacement.

Professional HVAC Tune-Ups and Repairs in Portland

With over a century of great service, Sunset Heating and Cooling has earned its name as one of the best and most trusted heating and cooling providers in Portland.

We offer a wide range of products that help our clients achieve optimal comfort and safety in their homes.

Whether you're looking for AC repairs or HVAC installations, you can rely on us to get the job done swiftly and efficiently.

Here at Sunset Heating and Cooling, we make it a point to only work with technicians who have special qualifications and licensing to get the job done.

Families can rest assured their HVAC systems will be up and running in no time, with the help of our skilled technicians.

First-Time Customer?

Enjoy special offers and discounts when you first avail of our services! For more details about our products or to get a quote for services, please don't hesitate to reach out.

Contact (503) 500-5866 today!

We look forward to serving you.

What Our Clients Say

Eduardo provided excellent service when he repaired our AC. I felt his effort was over and above expected. Polite and professional at all times. Good job!

-William G.

Many thanks for a great job of diagnosing, explaining and fixing our problem. We are very appreciative and will be happy to tell others.

-Greg G.

Jeremy was knowledgeable, personable, and took the time to explain things. Highly recommend his service.

-Scott B.

Jeremy was prompt and friendly. He did a great job of servicing our ac and explaining what he did. Great customer service!

-Jennifer M.

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