AC Coolant—Freon (R22) Refrigerant Replacement
Central air conditioners, portable air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers car AC systems, and dehumidifiers all have one thing in common: the use of a cooling agent. In the world of HVAC, we commonly refer to this cooling agent as “AC coolant.”
An AC coolant runs through interior coils of an appliance that either 1) cool passing air or 2) help to condense water in humid air. Without AC coolant, an air conditioner will not produce cold air. Until the early 2000s, Freon, also called R22 refrigerant, was the most common refrigerant on the market.
Read on to learn everything you need to know about Freon and Freon replacement:
What Is Freon?
Freon (R22 refrigerant or hydrochlorofluorocarbon [HCFC-22]) is a coolant that was commonly used in air conditioning systems until 2004. In 1987, the United States entered into a global agreement called the Montreal Protocol. The chief goal of the Montreal Protocol was to end the use and production of ozone-depleting substances. As a proven ozone-depleting substance, R22 refrigerant and freon-reliant appliances have both been phased out over time. The phaseout began in earnest in 2004 in favor of the more environmentally friendly, R-410A. In 2010, the Environmental Protection Agency banned the production and installation of new Freon-reliant appliances. R22 will remain in production in rapidly reducing quantities until 2020.
Can I Still Purchase Replacement Freon?
Simply put, as of the publish date of this blog post, it is still possible to purchase replacement Freon. However, because Freon-based appliances are no longer in active production, it is manufactured and imported in small quantities and is very expensive to purchase, new or recycled. Homeowners who need to recharge their air conditioners should weigh the cost of new freon against the cost of replacing their air conditioner with a new, more efficient, ozone-friendly unit.
R22 Refrigerant Replacement
The chief replacement for Freon is known R-410A, which is more commonly known by the brand names:
- SUVA 410A®
- GENETRON AZ-20®
- Forane® 410A
Any coolant-reliant appliance manufactured after January 1, 2010 is powered by a more ozone-friendly coolant, like the ones listed above.
Should I Replace My Own Air Conditioner Coolant?
AC coolant refill or replacement with either R22 refrigerant or R-410A is not advised. No matter which chemical your system uses, replacing your own AC coolant can be dangerous and harmful to the environment. Further, any existing refrigerant must be handled and disposed of by a professional.
Can I Replace R22 With R-410A in My Air Conditioning Unit?
If your air conditioner cools with R22, or Freon, it may be possible to retrofit the unit to use one of the safer R-410A products listed above. However, R22 cannot simply be swapped for an R-410A product. Retrofitting is contingent on the constraints of the existing AC coils.
Consult your local Aire Serv technician to learn about your options for retrofitting or upgrading your R22-dependent system to one that relies on ozone-friendly R-410A.
Let Aire Serv Handle All Your AC Coolant Needs
Whether you’re seeking to recharge or replace your existing air conditioner, you need Aire Serv. Our certified technicians are equipped to safely replace your unit’s coolant, repair any cracks or leaks, or replace your entire air conditioning unit. If you need AC coolant services, you need Aire Serv.
Have an AC coolant leak or other HVAC emergency? Call for 24/7 emergency service.