Finding the right gas refrigerant for your air conditioning maintenance and repair projects may require some research. Currently, there are three types of refrigerant gas available; R22, R32, and R410A.
Each refrigerant has different levels of usefulness as well as efficiency. Some refrigerants will work for a variety of different air conditioners and industrial chillers, while others may be more suited for specialized climate control systems.
While you may still find a variety of air conditioners that use R22 refrigerants, the majority of the manufacturing of these have ceased. The most commonly found refrigerants are now R410A and R32, but which is the most efficient? Let’s take a closer look and find out.
Which Refrigerant is More Efficient?
The manufacturing of new R22 air conditioners has been halted, and instead R32 and R410A refrigerants are still being used. When compared together, an air conditioner using the R32 gas refrigerant is up to 5% more efficient on average than the same model air conditioner using R22 or R410A gasses.
When graded on the Cooling Seasonal Performance Factor, or CSPF, both the R22 and R410A refrigerants graded between 1.00 and 1.02, while the A32 reached 1.05. This means the efficiency level was noticeably higher in air conditioners and chillers using A32 gas refrigerants than it was in those using R22 or R410A.
What does this mean for you? Well, a higher efficiency level from your air conditioner means it will use less energy to cool the same amount of space when compared to air conditioners using the other types of refrigerant. This adds up to direct savings for you when used throughout a typical summer.
Which Refrigerant is Better for the Environment?
When considering the Global Warming Potential, or GWP, of different gas refrigerants, the R32 rated better than both the R22 and R410A did when put under the same testing criteria.
In addition, both the R22 and R410A refrigerants showed an Ozone Depletion Potential, or ODP, of up to 1.055. Under the same testing criteria, the R32 did not have any ozone depletion potential whatsoever making it much more environmentally friendly overall.
What AC Units Use R32 Refrigerants?
Since most data is pointing to R32 gas refrigerants being the more efficient and environmentally safe of the three options, you may be wondering what type of air conditioning units use this gas.
R32 was first used in 2012 in both heat pumps and residential split air conditioning units. By 2014, it had moved from just being used in residential units to being used in much larger commercial units as well.
By 2020, R32 was the refrigerant of choice for newly manufactured variant refrigerant flow, or VRF, air conditioning units. A large number of newly manufactured window unit air conditioners already contain R32 refrigerant, and there are plans to ensure most if not all future manufacturing of window air conditioning units use R32, as well as the larger rooftop HVAC units too