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R‑22 vs. R‑410A: What Homeowners Need to Know When Buying a New AC

Looking for a new central air conditioner?

You have an important decision to make: What refrigerant type will your new AC use:

  • R-22 (What most call Freon) or
  • R-410A (What most call Puron)

It can only use one type because air conditioners are designed to work with one type of refrigerant.

Why is this important? Because one refrigerant type will drain your wallet big time in the future.

Here’s how.

R-22 is going away, R-410A is the new standard

R-22 is the most common refrigerant. But because it contains ozone-depleting substances, the government is phasing it out. (Basically, they’re making less of it over time). By 2020, manufacturers can no longer create R-22 refrigerant.

That means R-22’s price skyrockets because so many older ACs still use R-22, but now there’s less supply of it. The phase out started in 2010, so R-22 is already pretty expensive.

Therefore, if you buy a new central air conditioner that uses R-22 refrigerant, you’re buying something that becomes more expensive to repair as time goes on. (Filling up your AC with Freon if the system has a leak will cost an arm and a leg.)

Essentially, it’s like buying a car with a fuel type that will no longer be made in a few years.

R-410A (one manufacturer brands it as “Puron”) is the standard refrigerant for new central air conditioners.

Is there any drawback to getting an R-410A system?

There’s one downside to getting a cooling system that uses R-410A: you’ll need to replace the outside (condenser) AND the inside (evaporator) unit.


Because R-410A functions at a higher pressure. So if you put it in a system where one of the units was designed for R-22, the pressure would eventually break the system.

So the main drawback is that you’re forced to replace both units, costing you more upfront.

But it’s better to have a matched system (where both units are made for each other) anyway. An unmatched system causes stress on the units, causing them to break prematurely.

Need help? Ask us anything!

Need a new air conditioning system and need help choosing the right one for your Phoenix-area home? Ask one of George Brazil’s AC experts for help.

Already decided what kind of AC you want? Get a free estimate for an AC installation.