You likely have heard about R22 refrigerant (also known as Freon) no longer being available to buy for homeowners. For owners of R22 refrigerant air conditioners, they have three options for the next time their unit breaks down.
- They can do nothing right now and look for parts and resources for R22 refrigerant.
- They can have their air conditioner replaced entirely with a unit that takes R410-A refrigerant.
- They can have their air conditioner retrofitted to accept R410-A refrigerant.
Why Is Moving on From R22 Refrigerant A Good Idea?
The reason why companies are phasing out R22 refrigerant is because of its dangerous effects on Earth’s ozone layer and the environment. Even though R22 was created to replace an earlier generation of refrigerants that was even more harmful to the environment, we have newer alternatives that are replacing R22; the notable one being R-410-A (also known as Puron).
People who still use R22 refrigerant will find that parts for these air conditioners will be rarer and more expensive to buy as time goes on. Replacing your air conditioner entirely is also considered an expensive endeavor. Thus, if your Bellaire air conditioning unit still seems like it can work for a handful of years, you should consider retrofitting it.
Why Can’t I Just Mix Refrigerants?
While some homeowners have the idea of mixing refrigerants or simply use R410-A refrigerant on an older unit, please do not try it. Air conditioners were made so that they only accept just one type of refrigerant, and these refrigerants have different properties. The main property is the oil that the refrigerant needs. R22 refrigerant needs mineral oil, whereas R-410A refrigerant requires a synthetic lubricant. Refrigerant needs the proper oil to continue working without any burnout.
Mixing refrigerants on purpose is also against the law. Refrigerants that are mixed cannot be properly recycled or evaporated into the air without harmful consequences. R22 refrigerant must be thoroughly drained from your air conditioner’s system. Fortunately, a specialist can drain the refrigerant for you and replace any parts and components in your unit.
With this in mind, do not expect an air conditioner with R22 refrigerant to just work with R410-A components. They will not work until a professional can retrofit your unit.
What Is Retrofitting?
Retrofitting is the process of modifying your current air conditioner so that it can become compatible with newer components. It isn’t necessarily considered a repair job, and while you’re replacing parts of your unit, it’s not officially a full replacement, either. Having your air conditioner retrofitted, especially with the R22 refrigerant situation today, is the least expensive option for units that are still in working condition.
Retrofitting also may require less work than replacing your air conditioner outright. As your air conditioner is able to accept parts for R410-A refrigerant, you’ll find that acquiring the necessary resources for repairs is easier and more affordable. However, we do not recommend you trying to retrofit your unit yourself.
What Is Replaced with A Retrofit?
In order to keep up with the pressure that comes with R410-A refrigerant, the main components of your air conditioner such as the condenser, compressor, and evaporator will be replaced. Copper lines might also be replaced, but they can also be reused if they are cleaned and capable of being used with the newer refrigerant.
If your air conditioner still runs on R22 refrigerant, having it retrofitted to accept R410-A refrigerant is often the best direction to go in. Retrofitting your air conditioner will mean that repairs will be easier to make and will be less expensive in the future.