Freon (brand name by DuPont) used to be the regulated and most used refrigerant in the HVAC market. The chemical (R-22) was introduced to the refrigerant system in 1920. It consisted of hydrogen, carbon, fluorine and chlorine. HCFC was used in replacement to CFC or chloro-fluoro-carbon which is considered more dangerous. Within a few years, HCFC took over CFC’s role as the safer option.
Even though it was found to be safer than the alternative at the time, various recent studies state that R-22 is detrimental to the environment as it is a substantial ozone depleting substance that leads to greenhouse effects. Since January 2015, the maintenance or servicing of existing refrigeration, air condition and heat pump equipment using R22 has been prohibited by the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and related international agencies. Based on the Montreal Protocol, which prevents more damage to the ozone layer by banning all ozone deteriorating substances, R22 can no longer be used in any kind of application.
Since the use of R22 is currently prohibited, end users are left with the option to change the working fluid from current appliances which can be done with the help of professionals –this process might require making changes/switching out installed components to match the new requirements of the new working fluid. Another option would be replacing your current appliances to newer equipment.
Replacing Freon, R410A is found to be the closest substance to take over R22’s functionality. Not only does it have similar characteristics, it comes with added the benefit of being more environmentally friendly and also causes less vibrations in equipment. With less vibration, stress performed on the machine is less and equipment will generally have a longer life time.