Is R410A Refrigerant Being Phased Out?

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If you purchase an air conditioner nowadays, it is likely to use a refrigerant known as R410A. As you may well know, in the past, certain refrigerants were being phased out.

As a result, many people are wondering whether R410A is likely to go the same way. This is the question that we are looking to answer on this page.

Is R410A Refrigerant Being Phased Out?

R410A refrigerant is not currently being phased out. While there are plans to phase it out soon, many modern air conditioners are being built to use R410A as part of their cooling system. R410A will likely start to be phased out in 2024. It is estimated that the process will last until 2034.

What is R410A Refrigerant?

R410A, sometimes known as Puron, is a refrigerant used primarily in the production of air conditioning systems. 

R410A is known as a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), a type of refrigerant that does not utilize chlorine in the mixture. This is better than previous refrigerant options (CFC and HCFC)

R410A, like most refrigerants, is designed to remove heat from the air. It accomplishes this through a cycle of being a liquid, evaporating into a gas, and then returning to a liquid state.

In your air conditioning system, the R410A will be run through a series of copper coils. These copper coils run past the air that is being brought into the system. As the R410A pulls heat from the air, it will turn into a liquid. Later on, it is cooled back down to become a gas. 

Is R410A Refrigerant Dangerous?

Let’s start by talking about how dangerous it is to humans/animals. This information comes from the fact sheet of the R410A refrigerant, so this is the most accurate information available at the time of writing.

Now, a lot of people seem to believe that R410A is operated at high pressure. It is. It is operated at a higher pressure than other refrigerants. However, people also believe that this high pressure can lead to serious injury if somebody bears its brunt. This isn’t the case. It only operates at 400psi. At the most, it is going to cause you a little bit of pain. It isn’t going to slice fingers off, as some people seem to believe.

R410A is not dangerous if ingested either. While it probably wouldn’t be wise to drink R410A, it would likely cause a bit of irritation in the stomach. That being said, drinking R410A like this is unlikely. It would have evaporated long before it hits your mouth.

R410A may be dangerous to inhale, although it is dependent on how much is inhaled and what the oxygen is like in the room where it is inhaled. Inhaling can result in dizziness or headaches. In extremely rare cases, it can result in death. 

Contact with any part of your skin could result in frostbite, or at the very least, severe irritation. Although, this only applies if you come into contact with the liquid form of R410A. 

In terms of danger to the environment, it is said that 1kg of R410A is more dangerous than 2 tonnes of carbon dioxide. This means that leaking R410A is hugely dangerous to the environment. This is why regulatory agencies are concerned about even the smallest of leaks.

Granted, R410A is still less dangerous to the environment than previous refrigerants. It isn’t massively better, but in a widely used product, every little helps, right?

How Do I Determine What Type Refrigerant My AC Uses?

The manual for your air conditioner should always list the type of refrigerant that is being used. If you do not have the manual to hand, we suggest that you search for the make and model online.

In some cases, there will also be a small sticker on the air conditioner that will tell you what type of coolant it uses too.

Remember, you should never be guessing what type of refrigerant you should be putting into your air conditioner. You need to get it right.

Is R410A as good as R22?

It depends on what you define as ‘good.’ 

R410A is a much more energy-efficient product. This is because it is far better at being able to pull the heat out of the air. However, it needs to be operated at a far higher pressure than R22. So, if you have an R410A air conditioner, it will likely require more maintenance to ensure that the components are not suffering from too much wear and tear.

On the safety front, R410A is far superior to R22. While R410A can be dangerous, it does not impact the ozone layer in the same way R22 does. Although, do not take this statement to meant that R410A is good for the environment. It isn’t. Not by any stretch of the imagination. 

Can I Buy an R410A Refrigerant?

Yes. You can purchase an R410A refrigerant. However, you need to be licensed to handle and use it. So, while you can buy R410A easily, you must hand it over to an expert to refill your air conditioner for you. This has only been applied since January 2018.

The reason for this change is to help protect the environment. The hope is that having experts refill the air conditioner means that any leaks are spotted and patched up. This will help to prevent HFCs from seeping into the atmosphere. 

What Refrigerant is Replacing 410A?

R-32 is the refrigerant that is likely to end up replacing R410A over the next few decades. In fact, in some areas of refrigeration, this has already begun.

While R-32 is still going to impact the environment, it is said that it only impacts the environment about a third as much as R410A, which certainlý does make it a suitable replacement.

Do not expect air conditioners, at least those on the more affordable side of things, to be using R32 any time soon, though. At the time of writing, it is very much reserved for the more expensive air conditioners. Expect that to change from about 2024 onward when R410A begins the period where it is phased out.

What is a Fair Price for an R410A Refrigerant?

The price for R410A refrigerant can vary quite a bit. It is all down to the availability of the product. You can expect the price of R410A to go up from 2024 onward.

At the moment, you can expect to pay between $4 and $10 per pound for it.

What Type of Certification do I need to Buy R410a Refrigerant?

You do not need any certification to buy an R410A refrigerant. Well, at least not legally. Some suppliers have been known to ask for a certification purely for purchase.

A certificate is only required to handle and use it. This means one of the following:

  • EPA Section 608 Type II
  • Universal Certification

Both of these are obtained via the EPA. You will have to study the safe handling of R410A refrigerants. You will then need to complete an examination of around 50 questions before you are handed the certificate.

Can R32 Replace R410A?

No. The chemical composition is different. A system designed for one type of refrigerant will rarely work with another one. If you tried to put R32 into a system designed for R410A, then the air conditioner will not work. The air conditioner could likely end up breaking. 

How Do you Recharge R410a Refrigerant?

Honestly, unless you know what you are doing, it may not be wise to recharge the R410A refrigerant yourself. This is because if the levels have dropped low enough that you need to refill the system, then there is probably a leak somewhere that needs to be patched. If you do not patch it, you will forever be refilling. 

The exact process for recharging the refrigerant will vary from air conditioner to air conditioner. You will, at least, need to do the following:

  • Turn the air conditioner off
  • Clean air filter
  • Clean blower wheel
  • Clean evaporator coil
  • Clean condenser coil

You will then need to attach a refrigerant gauge to the valve connections on your air conditioner. The exact location will be dependent on the air conditioner.

The gauge will also need to be connected to the refrigerant bottle. The air conditioner must then be switched back on. The air conditioner must then be on for fifteen minutes.

Beyond this, everything you need to look out for, especially pressure-wise, will depend on the system you own. As we said, It is always good to have a professional do this. It will be completed correctly, and they will have the correct equipment to hand.

Summary

R410A refrigerant is not being phased out at the moment. However, there are plans to phase it out in the future. It will be more difficult to get hold of the refrigerant beyond 2024. 

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