The Difference Between R-410A and R-22

A key part of a heating and air conditioning system is the refrigerant within it. Refrigerant is a substance that is used in order to maximize the efficiency of the system. A frequent point of discussion regarding refrigerants is deciding between the two most popular options—R-410A and R-22. The best thing you can do in deciding between the two options is learning the facts of each and deciding which would be best for your heating and air conditioning system and your home.

The Difference In Performance

It is important to know that new air conditioning systems are specifically designed to run with R-410A. R-22 was discontinued in 2010 and therefore should not be used in any new systems. So although it is still allowed for use in older systems, if you install a new system, you will need R-410A. R-22 is often associated with lower efficiency systems and is actually a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon, which contributes to the depletion of the ozone layer.

New air conditioning and heating systems have been designed to run using R-410A for efficient operation that is not as harmful to the environment. R-22 is not capable of absorbing and releasing heat the way that R-410A can. This function of R-410A allows the compressor to run cooler and reduces the potential risk of burning out.

R-22 runs at lower pressure than the higher-pressure system R-410A is intended for, and new systems have been designed in conjunction with this new refrigerant to accommodate that pressure. A new compressor is capable of enduring greater stress to reduce the risk of cracking. Putting R-410A into an older system that was originally used with R-22 would result in an overload of pressure and the system would most likely break.

Another important part of the air conditioning system is the lubrication of the compressor. R-410A air conditioners operate with synthetic oil for compressor lubrication and R-22 air conditioners use mineral oil. Because synthetic oil runs with greater efficiency when paired with R-410A, this refrigerant allows for its system to operate more resourcefully and reduce the amount of deterioration. R-22 does not work as efficiently with mineral oil

An Alternative Option

When R-22 was discontinued, some companies put a spin on this situation by creating what is known as “dry charge” units. These units are built without the refrigerant. It is required for a technician to come and manually install the R-22, since the factory is unable to do so with a discontinued product. Although this way of going about things might seem “shady,” it is actually legal. However, you might be doing yourself a disservice in the long run as there will come a day when you are no longer able to get R-22 when it runs out and R-410A systems do offer a higher efficiency level and will help you save money on energy costs.

Now that you have the basic facts of each refrigerant, you can assess which is best for your current system and what to expect when purchasing a new system as R-22 is eventually going to be a refrigerant of the past and R-410A takes its place.

heating and air seer

What is SEER? Can it Save You Money?

SEER rating is a popular term with regards to HVAC units. What does it mean? A SEER rating is a number that represents the energy efficiency of a HVAC unit when cooling your home. Basically, the higher the number, the more efficient the HVAC unit is. The more efficient the HVAC unit, the less money is will cost you to cool your home.

By the Numbers

A SEER rating on an HVAC unit indicates cooling efficiency. It’s a number that indicates how much energy (equating to money) is required to cool a specific space. When determining the cost of cooling your home, several factors have to be taken into consideration. The square footage your home largely dictates the cost. If your home is 3000 square feet, cooling it will cost more than cooling a home that is 1500 square feet, regardless of the HVAC unit. If you were to cool two 3000 square foot homes with two different HVAC systems, however, the system with the higher SEER number would cost less to cool the same space. Other factors when determining the cost effectiveness of SEER rating include:

  • Climate of the location of your home. Homes in hotter states will see more initial return on higher SEER rating HVAC units due to the fact that they will be operated more frequently than comparable units in homes that are in cooler states.
  • Homes that make use of energy efficient HVAC units (High SEER Rating) qualify for the HVAC Energy Credit Plan. You will receive a tax credit on your return.

HVAC units with higher SEER ratings and energy efficiency typically cost more than ones with lower energy efficiency. There is no denying a higher initial cost. However, after a couple years of operation, this initial cost will be largely offset by the tax credits and the amount that you will be saving on your energy bill. You will actually be SAVING money in the long run in addition to increasing energy efficiency in your community. An HVAC unit with a higher SEER rating is well worth the investment, particularly if you live in a hotter climate.

Energy Saved is Money Saved

SEER or “Seasonal Energy Efficient Ratio” is the mark of progress for improving energy efficiency in our communities. More efficient heating and cooling systems equal less power consumed. This efficiency costs less for the consumer and is better for the environment. Be sure to check your HVAC system, particularly if it is 10+ years old, as there have been significant advances in efficient design over the past decade. It may cost a bit initially to have your unit replaced, but it the long run it will save you money.

For more information on SEER ratings or for HVAC in Hagerstown, MD consider McIntire HVAC as your contractors of choice. We have a long list of happy customers in both residential and commercial settings.