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Types of Air Conditioner Refrigerant

Without a refrigerant, the air conditioning unit in your home or office wouldn't be able to chill the air. In essence, it would become an elaborate fan. Using one of the two widely available types of refrigerant in your air conditioner will keep your home cool. Of the two types, one has been around a long time but is on the way out. The other is relatively new and is the future of air conditioner refrigeration.

R-22

There are two types of air conditioning refrigerants -- for now.

Freon is the best-known commercial name for the refrigerant R-22, or HCFF-22. It has been used in air-conditioning systems for many decades. Although it is effective, it has been linked to the depletion of the ozone layer and is therefore an environmental threat. The good news is that Freon is not harmful, as long as it is used in a system that has no leaks. The bad news is that eventually every air conditioning system wears out, and the Freon will then become harmful to the environment.

2010 Ban

For environmental reasons, Freon is no longer being manufactured. The ban went into effect at the end of 2010. Freon that was manufactured before the deadline can still be sold, and prices are likely to rise as supplies dwindle. Unfortunately, air conditioners using the old refrigerant cannot use the newer type, and they must be replaced.

R410A

R410A is a blend sold under the names Puron, EcoFluor, Genetron and AZ-20. This substance is just as effective for cooling as Freon but does not have any known environmental impact. As Freon supplies run out, R410A systems will become more widespread. These systems require an evaporator coil and gas lines that differ from those in Freon systems.

Puron Advantages

R410A has other advantages over Freon. Systems using this refrigerant appear to be more efficient that Freon systems. They have proven dependable since their introduction in 1996 by the Carrier Corp. Central air conditioning units that run on R410A are also quieter than most Freon systems, according to the Comfort Zone website.

About the Author

Lee Morgan is a fiction writer and journalist. His writing has appeared for more than 15 years in many news publications including the "Tennesseean," the "Tampa Tribune," "West Hawaii Today," the "Honolulu Star Bulletin" and the "Dickson Herald," where he was sports editor. He holds a Bachelor of Science in mass communications from Middle Tennessee State University.