A variety of different types of coolants are used in newer models of commercial air conditioning systems. It’s important to understand coolants, to be able to make informed decisions regarding maintenance, repair, and updating of HVAC systems. Three of the most popular refrigerants currently in use are R-407C, R-410A, and R-134a, but there are others in use as well. The various types of coolants and their main properties are described below, including the older R-22 that must be replaced with newer coolants.
R-410A is a good choice as a long-term coolant option for both light commercial and residential air conditioning systems. The reason for this is that it combines highly efficient performance with a direct GWP value that is close to the value of R-22. It is also energy efficient and easy to use in most air conditioning systems, plus many components are now available that contribute to the ease of designing R-410A systems that operate efficiently.
R-410A is often the coolant of choice for new system designs because it absorbs and releases a greater amount of heat than R-22, allowing the A/C compressor to run cooler, and thus decreasing the risk of the compressor burning out from overheating. Because R-410A operates at higher pressures than R-22, use of this coolant also requires that compressors be built to withstand these increased pressures. The result is that the system is better made and less likely to crack.
R-410A air conditioning systems use Polyol Ester oil (POE) for lubrication, an oil that dissolves better than the mineral oil that had been previously used. This means that the newer cooling systems operate better, thus minimizing the amount of compressor wear and tear and allowing the equipment to last longer.
A final consideration regarding any air conditioning system is how environmentally friendly it is. In some areas, it’s possible to get tax incentives or rebates for systems and buildings that meet state or local utility green codes. Systems that use R-410A are more sustainable and easier on the environment. As such, these systems can have a rapid payback period and may earn rebates as well, making them an economically sound choice as well as a positive choice for the environment, and this difference can make these systems the first choice for new installations.