Home air conditioners use a refrigerant, also known as freon, to cool and dehumidify the air in your home. The refrigerant is responsible for absorbing heat from the indoor air and releasing it outside. However, not all refrigerants are created equal, and there have been legal changes regarding which types of refrigerants can be used in home air conditioners.
The most common types of refrigerants used in home air conditioners are R-22 and R-410A. R-22, also known as Freon, was the most widely used refrigerant in home air conditioners for many years. However, R-22 has been phased out due to its negative impact on the environment. In 2010, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) banned the production and import of R-22, and by 2020, it will no longer be legally allowed to be used in new air conditioning systems.
As a replacement, R-410A, also known as Puron, has become the preferred refrigerant for new air conditioning systems. R-410A is a more environmentally friendly option, as it does not deplete the ozone layer like R-22. Additionally, R-410A operates at a higher pressure than R-22, which allows for more efficient cooling and heating.
Homeowners who currently have an air conditioner that uses R-22 will eventually need to replace their unit with a new one that uses R-410A. However, they will still be able to continue using their current air conditioner until it needs repairs. After January 1, 2020, it will be illegal for technicians to top off R-22 systems with the refrigerant, and any repairs that require the refrigerant will require the entire system to be converted to use R-410A.
It’s important to note that when buying new air conditioners, manufacturers are required to use R-410A refrigerant as per the law passed by the US government. Therefore, it is necessary to ensure that the unit you are purchasing uses this type of refrigerant.
Can you add Freon coolant to your air conditioner yourself?
It is not legal for homeowners to add Freon coolant to their own home air conditioning systems in the United States. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulates the handling and use of refrigerants, including Freon, under the Clean Air Act. This includes the requirement that only certified technicians, who have passed an EPA-approved exam and hold a valid certification, may purchase or handle refrigerants, including Freon.
Additionally, many newer air conditioning systems must use the newer R-410A, which is not interchangeable with Freon and requires different handling and charging procedures. Attempting to add Freon to a system designed for R-410A can cause damage to the system and potentially release harmful refrigerant into the atmosphere.
It is important for homeowners to have their air conditioning systems serviced by a certified technician, who will ensure that the system is charged with the correct type of refrigerant and that no leaks are present. Not only is it illegal for homeowners to add Freon coolant to their own home air conditioning systems, it is also dangerous and can cause damage to the system and the environment.
How long does Freon coolant last in a home air conditioner?
The lifespan of Freon and Puron coolant in a home air conditioner can vary depending on a number of factors, including the age of the system, the quality of the installation, and the amount of use the system receives. In general, a properly installed and maintained air conditioning system can expect to have Freon last for 10-15 years. However, leaks in the system can cause the Freon to deplete more quickly. Additionally, if the system is not properly maintained, the compressor or other components can fail, requiring the system to be recharged with Freon.
How do you know if your home AC is low on coolant (Freon / Puron)?
There are several signs that your home air conditioning system may be low on Freon coolant, including:
- The air coming from the vents is not as cold as it should be.
- The air conditioning unit is running constantly without effectively cooling the air.
- The air conditioning unit is making strange noises, such as hissing or bubbling sounds.
- The evaporator coil or the outdoor condenser unit is covered in ice.
- The low-pressure switch is tripped
If you notice any of these signs, it is important to have a professional technician check your system and recharge the Freon as needed.
Can my old AC that uses R-20 Freon be upgraded to use the new R-410A coolant?
While it could be possible to retrofit an older air conditioning system that uses R-22 refrigerant to use R-410A, but it is important to note that this process can be complex and may require significant modification to the system, which makes it cost prohibitive to attempt. New systems are required to run R-410A coolant at an affordable and efficient rate.
R-410A is a very different type of refrigerant than R-22, and it operates at a higher pressure. This means that the compressor and other components of the system may need to be replaced or upgraded in order to handle the increased pressure. Additionally, the refrigerant lines and other parts of the system may need to be modified or replaced in order to be compatible with R-410A.
It is also worth noting that R-22 is being phased out and by 2020 it’s not legal to use it for new equipment, and it will become more expensive to find and maintain any equipment that use R-22.
It is important to consult with a Proline AC technician since it may be more cost-effective to replace the system entirely with a new one designed to use R-410A.
Is it safe for an individual to use R-410A coolant on their own home?
Additionally, refrigerant can only be sold to certified technicians or companies that have the proper certification to handle refrigerants. It is important to note that handling and working with refrigerants can be dangerous and should only be done by properly trained and licensed individuals.
R-410A is considered a high-pressure refrigerant and requires special equipment and training to handle it safely. It is illegal to release R-410A into the atmosphere and it must be recovered, recycled or reclaimed before it can be released.
In conclusion, the legal phase-out of R-22 refrigerant and the use of R-410A as the preferred refrigerant for new air conditioning systems is an important step in protecting the environment. Homeowners with R-22 systems should be aware of the phase-out and plan for eventual replacement with a new R-410A system. This change also ensures that the new air conditioners will be more energy-efficient and eco-friendly.