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The Past and Future of Refrigerant: What You Should Know

Part of being a reputable HVAC company includes providing customers with valuable information that they might be able to use to save money and better their lives. The industry knowledge that we’ve gained over the years is only helpful to us if customers can trust us with this info.

The world of refrigerant is changing, and so too must our expectations and what we know about the HVAC industry. If you’re a homeowner or someone in the area who uses air conditioning, then this will be very relevant to you. We want to break down the history and potential future of the refrigerant market, and what that might mean for our customers who need AC repair in Sudden Valley, WA.

Just make sure you call our team if you have any questions.

The History of Refrigerant

In the 20th century when AC technology was invented, there was one refrigerant that everyone used–Freon. In fact, many people use the term “Freon” with “refrigerant” interchangeably because of how widespread it was. Every air conditioner that’s from that period of AC technology was designed to use Freon as the primary refrigerant for its functionality.

But soon it became clear that Freon was terrible for the environment and our health. It was hard to manufacture and soon there were new contenders with this old R-22 material.

Recent Refrigerant Changes

In the early 20th century, a new contender arose to take the championship of the most common refrigerant–R-410A, also known as “Puron.” In fact, Freon was phased out in 2020, which means you couldn’t produce it anymore. R-410A is widely known as the most common and effective refrigerant in circulation today.

R-410A has a much lower impact on the environment without reducing the efficiency or effectiveness of air conditioning technology. This quickly allowed it to replace Freon consistently, and most air conditioning systems use this kind of refrigerant.

But it won’t be the most common one for long.

The Future of Refrigerant

Contrary to what many news articles might tell you, we actually have some good industry knowledge of where refrigerants are heading in the future. That’s our job!

The HVAC and refrigeration industry faces ongoing pressure to shift towards refrigerants with lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) to comply with regulations and achieve sustainability targets. The industry has settled on two A2L refrigerants that have a low impact on the environment: 

R-32 is Daikin’s new balanced refrigerant, marking a shift in the air conditioning industry towards environmentally friendly options due to stricter regulations driven by the Montreal Protocol (1987) and the Kyoto Protocol (1997). While the mainstream refrigerant R-410A has an ozone depletion potential (ODP) of 0, its global warming potential (GWP) remains concerning. In contrast, R-32 boasts an ODP of 0 and only about one-third of the GWP of R-410A. Despite its historical challenges, R-32 is gaining traction as a promising refrigerant with a smaller environmental footprint. Daikin, utilizing its expertise as both an air conditioner and refrigerant manufacturer, became the first company to successfully apply R-32 in air conditioners.

R-454B is the latest refrigerant used by Lennox and other industry brands is R-454B. It’s a blend of R-32, an HFC, and R-1234yf, an HFO. R-454B boasts a significantly lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) compared to previous refrigerants, making it much more environmentally friendly. It has no ozone depletion potential (ODP) and is low in toxicity. R-454B’s GWP is over 75% lower than its predecessor, R-410A, and it exceeds EPA requirements for low-GWP refrigerants (<700 GWP). It’s also more energy efficient.

Things are moving quickly in this industry, so make sure you ask us any questions you might have about the future of refrigerant.

Our team of Home Performance Experts has served the I-5 corridor from Blaine to Marysville, Oak Harbor to Concrete, and the San Juan Islands since 1972 with a mission of Improving Lives™. We look forward to serving you too! Contact Barron Heating AC Electrical & Plumbing today for comprehensive AC repairs like fixing a refrigerant leak.

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