What You Should Know When Purchasing a New r410a Refrigerant System
One of the main things you need to understand about the new home air conditioning systems that use r410a refrigerant is there are really no user serviceable parts inside. This precaution is not to ensure your local heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) company has plenty of work. It’s because the refrigerant operates under higher pressure and requires special tools and equipment with which they are serviced.
The change in gas used in residential air conditioning systems is due to the ban on hydro chlorofluorocarbons, HCFCs of which r22 refrigerant is comprised, by the Environmental Protection agency. Research has shown that r22, when released into the atmosphere aids in depletion of the ozone layer and the gas itself, combined with other substances in the air contributes to global warming.
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- The Montreal Protocol on Substances that Deplete the Ozone Layer | Ozone Layer Protection | US EPA
In 1995, the United Nations named September 16 the International Day for the Protection of the Ozone Layer. To celebrate the success of the last 20 years, countries gathered in Montreal, Canada, from September 16-21, 2007, to recognize...
- What is R410A Refrigerant? | eHow.com
What is R410A Refrigerant? R-410A refrigerant was developed as an environmentally friendly and more efficient alternative to replace R-22 (Freon). R-410A refrigerant--also known as Puron--does not deplete the ozone the way R-22 does...
The new r410a refrigerant still has the potential to contribute to global warming when combined with other greenhouse gases, but has shown to have no effect on the ozone layer. Since 1987 when the United States joined in the Montreal Protocol to reduce the amount of HCFCs used, it has slowly been phased out and since 2010 residential air conditioning and heat pumps have been produced operating with r410a refrigerant.
In addition to the environmental benefits, there are some other advantages to the change. The cooling capacity is higher with r410a and it has better thermal properties resulting in overall gains in performance and better cooling efficiency. The vapor is also denser and pressure drops are greatly reduced. Due to its higher operating pressure and density units using r410a refrigerant it requires smaller compressors, less coil and less refrigerant on which to achieve the same cooling capacity as older units.
The Montreal Protocol
One confusing issue for homeowners may be the name of the refrigerant their service company provides. Like many other consumer products it is distributed by more than one manufacturer and is available under a host of brand names. Regardless of the name, homeowners should know the product used in their system is used under its trade name, r410a.
When it was first developed r410a refrigerant was considerably more expensive than r22, but since the phase out began the r22 price has more than tripled. It is still used in air conditioners manufactured prior to 2010, and system repairs are still allowed, but only using recaptured and reclaimed r22 refrigerant. As a result, the price has gone up. The price of r410a, while still higher than the old price of r22 is somewhat stable. However, the cost difference may be negligible since units operate on less volume of r410a than on r22.
When service is required on systems using r410a technicians need to be properly trained. Although the service in general is performed the same way, it will require special tools and equipment due to the higher operating pressure of units using r410a. Additionally, refrigerant gas is heavier than air and will take the place of oxygen which can lead to asphyxiation if not handled correctly. When mixed with air under pressure it can also be flammable.