Most of the time we just want our air conditioning to work with no questions asked. But if you’re installing a new air conditioner or if the refrigerant in your current unit has to be changed, you have to ask yourself how to tell what kind of Freon my AC uses and what types of air conditioning refrigerant are out there.
Types of Air Conditioning Refrigerant
The types of air conditioning refrigerant may not seem like common knowledge. However, understanding what’s right for your air conditioner and the environment is essential.
We’ll break down the different types of refrigerant used in a cooling system so you can make the most informed choice. But first, we’ll give you a little history on refrigerant and the environment.
R-22 “Freon” Refrigerant
It took years for scientists to find a coolant that was non-flammable and easily replicated to make air conditioners conceivable for the masses. In 1928, chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) were invented with just such properties and R-22 (Freon) was a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) that became the worldwide standard for air conditioning.
However, if the term “chlorofluorocarbons,” is familiar to you, it’s likely due to the widely publicized discovery of their harm to the ozone layer decades after their creation.
The United Nations passed the Montreal Protocol in 1987 in an attempt to eliminate harmful substances to the ozone, CFCs included. Because R-22 was so widely used, the Protocol allows for a decades-long phase-out that continues to this day.
Alternatives to R-22
As R-22 must be completely phased out by January 1, 2020, alternatives were developed. Some options that are now in use are R-410A and MO99.
- R-410A: a chlorine-free hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) considered less harmful to the environment than R-22 but with the same cooling properties. Air conditioners are now designed specifically for R-410A refrigerant, but it cannot be used to retrofit an older R-22 model.
- MO99: also more environmentally friendly and effective. An added benefit is that MO99 refrigerant can be easily retrofitted to older R-22 units.
Future Air Conditioning Refrigerants
As new scientific discoveries and environmental policies now work hand in hand to preserve our environment, the types of air conditioning refrigerant we use continue to evolve.
R-410A is still an HFC with the potential to contribute to global warming. The next decade will begin a phase-down of all HFC refrigerants, including R-410A.
However, new types of air conditioning refrigerant continue to emerge. The recent development of R-32, a single component refrigerant, could be a future replacement for R-410A with only 1/3 of the global warming possibility.
If you need replacement refrigerant, contact Appliance & AC Parts Today.