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May 2, 2013 | Blog


R-410A — What’s the Deal?

The basics about R-410A are pretty easy to understand and you don’t need a degree in chemical engineering to decipher your heating and air conditioning contractor’s lingo. Most modern-day refrigerants fit into one of three categories.  They are CFC’s, HCFC’s, and HFC’s.  They get their name from their chemical make-up.  For instance, a CFC is a ChloroFlouroCarbon.  The important thing to know is that some are considered safer for the environment than others. The one considered to be the most dangerous is the CFC.  This is why today, when buying canisters or bottles of hairspray or pressurized cans of keyboard cleaner, some labels will say “Contains no CFC’s.”  The second most dangerous refrigerant is considered to be the HCFC, and the least dangerous, the HFC. The HFC is considered to be the least dangerous for the environment because it does not contain chlorine which is notorious for combining with ozone molecules and depleting the Ozone Layer.  R-410A is an HFC.

For many years, the most common refrigerant used in residential air conditioning systems was R-22, which is an HCFC. Just to keep thing straight, HCFC’s are the ones considered to be the second most harmful to the environment.  R-410A was developed by the Carrier Corporation as a possible replacement for R-22, since it appeared to be less hazardous to the environment.  Carrier branded the product as Puron and was selling it in its air conditioning systems as a point of differentiation when selling its systems.  If your air conditioning contractor is selling you “Puron”, he or she is referring to R-410A.

The big push for R-410A came when the United States government mandated that the HCFC, R-22 be phased out and replaced with the less hazardous HFC, R-410A. The R-22 refrigerant is still available; however, as of January 1, 2010, manufacturers are no longer permitted to produce air conditioners or heat pumps containing R-22.

So What Does This Mean For Me?

Well, a safer environment along with higher pressures and higher prices.  R-410A does run at much higher pressures than R-22.  The higher pressures tend to cause coils to burst more quickly if corrosion exists, especially the microscopic corrosion plaguing the industry today called formicary corrosion.  In addition, R-410A systems have proven to be more expensive from the manufacturers.  This is not manufacturer specific.  Prices have gone up across the board.

Plus, now you can brag to all of your friends about having R-410A in your air conditioning system!

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