Home Air Conditioner Refrigerant Types

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Updated September 16, 2022

If you have a top-rated air conditioning system, you should know what type of Freon is used in a home air conditioner. Whether you have a window AC or a central air unit, the type of refrigerant you use heavily affects the AC cooling power.

KEY TAKEAWAYS:

  • Air conditioners use refrigerants, such as Freon and Puron, to assist during the cooling process.
  • R-22, or Freon, is a coolant that is no longer available in new AC units but is still a common refrigerant.
  • R-410A, or Puron, is a modern, environmentally friendly refrigerant that offers increased energy efficiency in your air conditioner.

Under new freon regulations, certain AC refrigerants have been phased out to combat ozone depletion and other potentially harmful effects. Continue reading to learn what type of refrigerants are used in a home air conditioner to see if your AC unit is up to code.

What Kind of Freon Is in My Air Conditioner Unit?

Understanding freon’s role in residential air conditioners is imperative for HVAC repair. Freon systems work with the AC compressor to cool your home. In addition, if you notice hot air blowing from your air conditioner, you likely have an AC coolant leak that should be addressed by an AC repair service.

Insider Tip

You need to contact a licensed technician to diagnose a refrigerant leak and perform the Freon refill for your residential air conditioning system.

Finding the correct replacement refrigerant is nearly impossible without knowing what kind of air conditioning unit you have. For example, a window air conditioner that keeps turning off needs a specific type of coolant to solve the overheating issue.

R-22 System

R-22 refrigerant, also known as Freon, is a common refrigerant in central air conditioners. Like some alternative refrigerants, R-22 is linked to environmental effects, such as ozone layer depletion.

In response, the U.S. government passed the Clean Air Act of 2010 to make air conditioning equipment more energy-efficient and cleaner for the environment. Most AC manufacturers have stopped using R-22 AC coolant, which lawmakers outlawed in 2020 for new machines. So, if your unit was made before 2010, it probably uses Freon.

Warning

Do not touch a leaking AC condenser without wearing gloves and glasses. Freon leaks can cause serious health issues if inhaled or allowed to sit on the skin.

R-410A System

R-410A refrigerant, also known as Puron, is the legally acceptable coolant that replaced R-22. Puron is the coolant of choice for service technicians and AC manufacturers. Unlike R-22, R-410A refrigerant doesn’t contain chlorine, making it less hazardous to the environment.

In addition, units using R-410A offer better energy efficiency. Lastly, you cannot use R-410A as an R-22 replacement unless you convert the entire air conditioning unit to work with modern R-410A air conditioner refrigerant.

STAT: According to a 2020 EIA (Energy Information Administration) survey, central AC adoption only increased by 1% between 2015 and 2020. (source)

F.A.Q.S

I have an older air conditioner that uses R-22. Do I need to replace it?

No, you do not need to replace an AC unit because it uses an R-22 refrigerant. Due to an EPA-mandated phaseout, R-22 is no longer produced in the United States. Remember that you will need a replacement unit if your AC has a coolant leak.


Why is the price of R-22 increasing?

Since R-22 Freon is illegal for manufacturers to produce, there is a dwindling supply. While you can get recycled and repurposed Freon, it is about five to ten times more expensive than modern AC coolant.


Should I DIY or hire an HVAC pro for replacement Freon?

You should always contact a licensed professional to perform a Freon recharge. According to the Clean Air Act, purchasing or handling home AC refrigerant without a license is illegal. In addition, you may use the wrong type of refrigerant, ruining your AC unit.


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