R32 vs R410A vs R22 vs R290 – Different Air Conditioner Refrigerant

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During the servicing of your AC, you surely have heard about filling up your air conditioner with gas by the service person. This gas is recognized as the air conditioner refrigerant that is filled in the condenser coils.

Technician is checking air conditioner

Without this gas or refrigerant, the freezing system will not work in your air conditioner. R32, R410A, R22, R290 etc. are several refrigerants.

Air conditioner refrigerant is one of the most important factors that are related to the working procedure of an air conditioner.

In this article, we will thoroughly discuss several refrigerants.

First, we will focus on what is a refrigerant?

What is a Refrigerant?

Refrigerant is the fluid that is used in air conditioners to absorb heat from the room and spread the heat out in the atmosphere with the help of a compressor.

A refrigerant passes through condenser coil by phase changes from a liquid to gas and back to liquid form. The refrigerant absorbs the heat from the room and exchanges from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid.

Then the machine leaves the hot air outside of the room. Again it transforms back to liquid by the compressor of the air conditioner and this cycle keeps repeating.

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The choice of perfect refrigerant is made based on its preferred thermodynamic properties, safety, and non-corrosive nature.

Though several fluids can be used to act as a refrigerant, presently in the 20th century, CFC refrigerants have become the most popular one.

Without refrigerant, an air conditioner or any other freezing technology can not be operated.

Now, we will discuss further the types of refrigerants.

Types of Air Conditioner Refrigerants

Over many years we have heard about some of the most common types of refrigerants that are used in the air conditioners. Every refrigerant comes with its own ozone depletion potential factors regarding global warming.

Now, we will discuss different types of refrigerants.

vacuum pump evacuates air from the air conditioner

CFCs or Chlorofluorocarbons

Chloflurocarbons are one of the main causes of the depletion of the ozone layer and the greenhouse effect. R12 was considered as one of the most common CFCs that was named Feron.

The brand name of this refrigerant was DuPont. In the year of 1994, this refrigerant was banned and was replaced with HCFCs.

HCFC or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons

R22 is the most common type of Hydrochloflurocarbons that is used in 50% to 60% air conditioners in India.

In comparison with Chlorofluorocarbon refrigerants, Hydrochlorofluorocarbon refrigerants are better. HCFCs are better as they do not contain anything that is dangerous for the green environment.

For the potential to ozone depletion, the HCFC refrigerants will be phased out by the year 2030 by the Government of India.

When you are buying an air conditioner, don’t forget to look at the exterior component of an AC. If you will see R22 is mentioned in the box then don’t buy that product.

These refrigerants will be phased out very soon.

HFC or Hydrofluorocarbons

The Hydrofluorocarbons gets created by the manufacturers to shift the chlorine from the refrigerant. These refrigerants do not deplete the ozone layer still, they have the potential for global warming.

R32 and R410A are the most common type of Hydrofluorocarbons used in the Indian air conditioners. R134A is also an HFC refrigerator used in Indian air refrigerators.

In the coming years, the Government of India has decided to pause the HFC refrigerants.

HC or Hydrocarbons

Hydrocarbon refrigerants are the most convenient refrigerants used in the air conditioners in India. R290 and R600A are the two Hydrocarbons that are recognized as Propane for R290 and Iso-Butane for R600A.

These refrigerants are the most eco-friendly refrigerants and these are completely free from halogen.

Hydrocarbons have the lowest potential for global warming and it has no ozone depletion potential.

These refrigerants are highly flammable, but there have been no reported incidents of any accidents.

Also these refrigerants are highly energy efficiency.

global warming potential of air conditioner refrigerants

R32 Vs R410A

Presently, most of the air conditioner manufacturers in India are using R32, which has a global warming potential of 675. This refrigerant is 3 times lower than the global warming potential in comparison with R410A.

R32 is more energy efficient in comparison with R410A. R32 is used in some of the best inverter AC.

Presently most of the air conditioners of leading companies like Panasonic, Daikin, Toshiba, Hitachi, etc. are using this eco-friendly refrigerant. R410A is a combination of two HFC refrigerants such as R32 and R125.

R22 Vs R290A

R22 is the most common HCFC that is used in 50% to 60% of Indian air conditioners. For the potential to ozone depletion, the HCFC refrigerants will be phased out by the year 2030 from India.

Therefore, it is recommended not to buy air conditioners with R22 refrigerants.

R290 is the most environmentally friendly refrigerant available in India for air conditioners. This refrigerant has a zero impact on the ozone layer and it only has 3 of global warming potential.

These refrigerants are energy efficient and the most eco friendly one. But R290 refrigerants are highly flammable.

air conditioner refrigerant impact on environment

Previously, we have mentioned about the best quality of the refrigerants depends on the ozone depletion potential and the global warming potential.

Here, we will provide you a complete chart so that you can see the difference between these refrigerants.

Comparison Between Air Conditioner Refrigerants

Refrigerant Global Warming Potential Ozone Depletion Potential
R 22 1810 Medium
R 410A 2088 Nil
R 32 675 Nil
R 134A 1430 Nil
R 290 3 Nil
R 600A 3 Nil

What is the cause of the depletion of Ozone layer?

There are several reasons for the depletion of the ozone layer such as vehicular emission enhance environmental pollution by industries.

depletion of Ozone layer

The use of CFC or Chlorofluorocarbons in refrigerants and air conditioners also causes depletion of the ozone layer.

Over the past decades, there is a gradual phasing out of the Chlorofluorocarbons from the domestic and industrial scenes.

Our responsibility towards the Earth

We all have a responsibility to save the future of this earth for the coming generations. By reducing global warming and removing ozone layer depletion should be our responsibility.

To fulfill this responsibility, you should start using air conditioners with eco friendly refrigerants like R290 and R600A respectively.

As the demand for air conditioners is increasing, they tend to use such environment-friendly air conditioners. Manufacturers will quickly switch over such refrigerants from CFC, HFC, and HCFC refrigerants.

It will be beneficial for the entire environment.

Final Words!

It’s a fact that refrigerants give the power to air conditioners to cool your indoors.

Still, it is recommended to have a look at the type of refrigerant when you buy an air conditioner.

Also, consider that an out phased refrigerant will provide higher electric bills and there also you will face difficulties regarding regular servicing.

Hopefully, the above information will be helpful for you to choose the right refrigerant for your sweet home.


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