This page will be about the difference between R22 and R410A from a technician’s point of view.
This is my personal opinion of 48+ years of field time. I will first talk about R 22 Freon. This is an old friend of mine, it’s been around 50+ years just like me. And is the number one Freon used in 90 to 95% of all the air conditioners in the world. This is a Freon that I have been comfortable working with all my life. It is also a Freon that is going to continued to be manufactured until 2020. In the last four years R22 wholesale price have increased by 500%!!. Effective December 31, 2009 all manufactures will stop manufacturing units that use R22 as a Freon. The entire industry will be switching over to R410A. Even though R22 will still be around, I think the price will skyrocket next year. The chemical industry may do the same thing with R22 that happened with R12. With what is known as a drop-in replacement Freon. But you can bet your bottom dollar it won’t be cheap. The price of a replacement will be more than R22 is today. All other names for R410A.= AZ-20, R410A, PURON.
This is the new stuff, I am not impressed. I believe in technology and loved to see it when it hits the industry for the better. But this new Freon is something that I predict will cause us a few problems. Just as all technology has problems when it first comes out, I’ve seen problems with R410A. And R410A is not new to the industry, it’s just new to the consumer, it has been around for a while. This Freon runs at 30 to 40% more pounds per square inch operating pressures than R22. You don’t have to be a graduate from Harvard to understand, with higher pressures, there are going to be more leaks. The new R410A equipment does not seem to have thicker walls on the copper tubing, although I’ve noticed some factory changes in stressed areas, having thicker walled copper piping. The air-conditioning industry has been plagued with leaks for years. The number one problem with freon leaks, is that it allows the indoor evaporator of an air-conditioning system to freeze into a block of ice. This ice does tremendous damage to the indoor evaporator coil. There are numerous reasons for this evaporator to freeze, I’m going to save that for another page. (Coil page) . I’ll try to write these pages in layman’s language rather than confuse you with technology. It amazes me how all the customers want the new freon, I wonder if they’ll still want it when they understand it will probably be at $75 a pound next year. What I’m trying to stress here is that dealing with a new freon, soldering and taking care of your systems is going to be so much more important than it is now because of the increased cost of freon. The days of filling up an air conditioner with 8 dollar a pound freon are gone forever. Most systems have a minimum of about 6 pounds, the newer units with so much more added coils and larger size units are taking even more freon. So what will get your attention is 6 pounds a freon at $75 a pound plus service call making a invoice over $500 to gas up your system, think about that one! What this means to you, the consumer, is that you are not going to be able to neglect taking care of your unit anymore. Yes you want the new freon, but you will soon understand that the cost of the new freon was not something you were told about. I’m not saying that the new Freon is not going to be a better situation for our environment or even for our planet. (Personally I would like to see a lot more scientific facts on global warming, I like to make up my own mind and not just be one of the sheep.) It’s just one of the higher cost!! The real problem with this Freon is you as a consumer do not have a lot of choices. This is something else that is going to be rammed down our throat. Effective December 31 of this year no more R22 air conditioning equipment will be manufactured. You will have no choice but to buy a new system that is a R410A equipment. I will predict that you will see a drop-in replacement for R22, I’m saying that the chemical companies will come out with a Freon that will be a substitute for R22 . I will tell you this though,you can bet your last dollar that costs, considering R22 equipment has a worldwide market of 90%, will not start out at the bottom. So in closing, in 3 1/2 months your option to choose a new 22 system will be over.
– Tom Durbin
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