The common hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerant R22 or Freon has been used for decades as the main cooling agent in HVAC systems. But the substance is not as healthy towards the environment as the experts once thought. In fact, the substance has been categorized as an ozone-depleting substance or ODS in the early 2000s. Hence, the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA has decided to phase out the refrigerant stage by stage. The phasing out of R22 began in 2010. Th HVAC units that were manufactured after 2010 don’t use R22 as a cooling agent. Further phasing out took place in 2015 and the process is to be completed in 2020. After 2020, no HVAC system will be using R22 since R22 won’t be manufactured or imported to the United States after that. That is why the scientific community conducted extensive research to find a viable alternative to R22. This article provides information on what are the alternatives to using R22 or Freon.
R134A is an alternative refrigerant that was introduced to the market some time back. It is considered a haloalkane refrigerant with thermodynamic properties. In fact, R134A is commercially known as Norflurane. It is made of a single component and not blended like most of the other R22 alternatives are. Hence, you don’t need to use multiple machines when working with this refrigerant. The EPA advises using a separate machine for each component for any refrigerant product that uses a recycle blend. In fact, R134A is currently approved as an alternative refrigerant in order to retrofit R12 air conditioning systems in vehicles. But the retrofitting should follow certain safety regulations in order to prevent safety hazards in the process. R134A is considered to be safe for the environment compared to R22. The ozone-depletion potential of this substance is zero – which means it won’t damage the ozone layer of the planet similar to R22. But some countries are still not convinced that R134A is the best alternative to R22. Hence, there is still research going on in various quarters to further improve the substance.
R404A is another approved alternative refrigerant to R22. It also has an ozone-depletion potential of zero. This substance is used for refrigeration systems that require a temperature between -45° C and 15° C. The substance is most commonly used in the commercial transport industry due to the wide temperature range requirements in the industry. The make-up of R404A is quite similar to R22. But it offers an improved performance than the latter. R404A is a colorless, odorless, and non-flammable substance. Since the refrigerant doesn’t have a rapid reaction to water and air, it is considered safer for many uses. But you should take the required safety procedures to protect yourself when using the refrigerant. Direct contact with R404A can result in frostbite. In fact, exposing the substance to heat and fire for long will result in a ruptured tank. These are important things to consider when using R404A.
R407C is another alternative refrigerant to R22. The thermodynamic properties of this substance are quite similar to R22. Hence, R407C is a popular alternative refrigerant that can be retrofitted to your R22 equipment. This refrigerant consists of a blend of 1,1,1,2-tetrafluoroethane, difluoromethane, and pentafluoroethane. The refrigerant is widely used in ductless split systems, packaged air conditioners, light air conditioning systems, and water chillers. The refrigerant will also work in medium temperature refrigeration systems. In fact, R407C could be retrofitted to some R22 equipment as long as the process includes an oil change. The ozone depletion potential of this refrigerant is zero. Hence, it is an environmentally friendly substance compared to R22. R407C comes in cylinders as well as drums. You can purchase this refrigerant from numerous refrigerant and gas suppliers on the market today.
R410A is another popular alternative refrigerant to R22. It is a blend of two hydrofluorocarbon refrigerants such as pentafluoroethane and difluoromethane. This substance is considered a non-ozone-depleting substance that provides better energy efficiency compared to R22 and R407C. In fact, the refrigerant doesn’t use chlorine in its makeup. R410A offers a better performance compared to most of the other alternative refrigerants on the market today. Hence, most experts consider R410A to be the most suitable replacement for R22 – when the latter is completely phased out in 2020. R401A is most commonly used in commercial refrigeration, chilling, and air conditioning units. But this alternative won’t work properly in R22 units. That is because R410A has a higher pressure compared to R22. In fact, it will need a different manifold pressure gauge compared to what is used with R22. In fact, R410A should be charged in its liquid form and short bursts. This substance is marketed under several trade names such as Genetron R410A, Suva 410A, Forane 410A, AZ-20, Puron, and EcoFluor R410. You can easily buy the refrigerant from numerous cooling and heating stores out there as well as online stores.
TdX 20 or R458A is another alternative refrigerant to R22. TdX 20 is manufactured by Bluon Energy. The most important advantage of this alternative refrigerant is its ability to lower the energy consumption of your HVAC units. The latest research shows that TdX 20 can lower the energy consumption of HVAC units by at least 5-25%. On the other hand, the substance is a non-ozone-depleting refrigerant. Hence, it is considered one of the best alternatives to R22. The energy consumption of the HVAC system is reduced through the reduction in equipment runtime and a lower amp draw rate. The life of your HVAC equipment will improve with this refrigerant. The shorter cycle times, lower operating pressure, and reduced compressor temperatures are responsible for the extended lifespan of your HVAC equipment. Peak load time will become easier to handle with TdX 20 as the energy consumption of the unit will be lowered during such times. In fact, the daily runtime of the HVAC unit will be reduced by 20 to 90 minutes. Meet Bluon Energy for more information.