Air Conditioner Refrigerant Types and Comparison

When it comes to Heating and Air systems many people want to know the Air Conditioner Refrigerant Types and the Comparison of each. The difference is usually in the Compressor and which one is clean energy and which one isn’t so clean.

Air conditioners use different types of refrigerants, which are called R-22 or R-410A. The type of air compressors used for each type of refrigerant are also different. The R-22 compressors are the older model, while the R-410A compressors are the models being installed on all new air conditioning units like our Mini Split Systems.

So, Which One is Becoming Obsolete?

The major difference between R-22 and R-410A compressors is that the R-22 refrigerant is being phased out. A revised Clean Air Act was constructed in 1989 that required all new air conditioning systems to phase out substances that depleted the ozone layer, and that  included R-22. A new coolant took the place of that refrigerant, the R-410A, and all compressors had to operate using this type of refrigerant or coolant. Even though R-22 is still available for the older model air conditioning systems, no manufacturer is allowed to produce this type of unit. The requirement became law as of Jan 1, 2010 and all R-22 units must be completely eliminated by the year 2030.

Yes, there is an Oil used in Compressors!

The type of oil used in the compressors is also different. The R-22 compressor uses a mineral oil, while the R-410A compressor uses a synthetic oil like many automobiles d0.The mineral oil used in the R-22 compressor cannot be mixed with the hydro-flourocarbon (or HFC) refrigerants like the R-410. Because of this, every old air conditioner that used R-22 refrigerant must have the air compressor replaced when retrofitted or when the compressor fails.

What is Displacement and Why Is it Important?

The R-410A has about 40 percent less heat-carrying capacity than the R-22 refrigerant. This causes the reduction of the displacement between the two different compressors. If you have an R-22 compressor that has R-410A refrigerant in your system, your compressor motors will overload and burn out. The overloading can also cause the motor to start tripping the breaker, shutting down the air conditioning system. You will only end up with having to replace the compressor unit and that can get a little pricey.

 Is There A Difference in Pressure?

A compressor that uses R-410A refrigerant has more pressure pushing through the tubes of the system than the R-22 compressor. Approximately 60 percent more pressure is required for the refrigerant to cool the air that flows through the ducts or vents of the air conditioning system. So much pressure will cause a R-22 compressor to burst the tubes running throughout the unit. The tubes used with the R-410A compressor are also smaller than the tubes running through the R-22 compressor, which creates some of this increased pressure within the device.

As you can see, it’s important to understand the differences between R-22 and R-410a and how they operate differently. It’s always best to make sure your system has the proper maintenance that will last for years to come. While we offer a 5 Year Compressor warranty on our Mini Split Units, new owners are responsible to make sure that the unit is installed and maintained properly to cover any Manufacturers Warranty Issues that may arise.

You can read all about our Unit Specs or Purchase One on our PRODUCTS page.

As always, please feel free to leave a comment or contact us for questions.