What You Need to Know About R410A

What is R410A refrigerant? If you’re ready to upgrade your AC system or you are in the market for an environmentally friendly alternative, take a look at everything you need to know about this commonly used refrigerant product.

Why Does Your Air Conditioner Need Refrigerant?

Without refrigerant your home’s AC system couldn’t cool the interior space. Refrigerant is a cooling chemical that absorbs heat from the air. The chemical starts as a liquid and turns into a gas as it removes hot air from your home. Low refrigerant, no refrigerant, or a refrigerant leak will reduce or eliminate the AC system’s ability to effectively cool your home.

Does Your Air Conditioner Need R410A Refrigerant?

It’s possible your home’s central air conditioner doesn’t need R410A. Older systems use HCFC-22, also known as R022. This refrigerant effectively absorbs hot air and cools the interior area. But the cooling comes at a cost. HCFC-22 is an ozone-depleting refrigerant and was phased out by the U.S. government. As of 2020, U.S. manufacturers can no longer make or import HCFC-22/R-22.

Unlike HCFC-22, R410A isn’t known to cause a major environmental impact. This means it won’t deplete the Earth’s ozone layer in the same way older refrigerant products will. If you have a new air conditioner or have professionally retrofitted an older model, you need R410A refrigerant to cool your home.

Failure to fill the AC system with R410A or repair a leak in the line will cause cooling problems. If your air conditioner turns on, but blows warm air, it’s possible the system doesn’t have enough R410A.

Is R410A the Only HCFC-22 Alternative?

Even though R410A is a popular choice for newer air conditioners, it isn’t the only non-HCFC-22 refrigerant. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), other substitutes include HFC-134a, HFC-32, R-125, R-1270, R-404A, R-407A, R-407C, R-407F, R-422C, and other products.

While there is an array of different refrigerants available, you can’t use each one with your home’s AC system. The specific type of refrigerant your air conditioner needs depends on the system itself. Most residential air conditioners use R410A.

Never refill an older HCFC-22 air conditioner with R410A. Older systems weren’t made to work with this new refrigerant. While it might seem like an eco-conscious idea, this type of replacement can damage your system and lead to cooling failure.

Should You Hire a Professional to Repair or Refill You AC System?

What should you do if your system blows warm air or you have an R410A leak? Don’t confuse environmentally friendly with safe. Even though R410A isn’t an ozone-depleting product, refrigerant is a potentially dangerous chemical. Only a qualified HVAC professional should handle this refrigerant or repair your air conditioner.

A professional HVAC technician has the expertise and experience necessary to identify refrigerant issues (such as low levels or leaks) and repair your air conditioner. If you don’t have expert-level knowledge of air conditioners and refrigerants you could misdiagnose the AC system’s issue. This could result in the wrong fix, excess damage, or a potentially hazardous situation.

Always consult a professional before you make any change to your air conditioner. While it may seem like the addition of new refrigerant is an easy maintenance task, you should never add R410A to your AC unit. A refrigerant recharge isn’t a simple DIY AC activity. The professional has the equipment to evacuate the unit (from existing refrigerant) and add a new fill of the chemical.

Does your home’s central air conditioner have enough refrigerant? If your AC blows warm air or doesn’t cool efficiently, the system needs professional help. Contact L&L Home Improvement for more information.

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