R32 vs R410A vs R22 vs R290 – Air Conditioner Refrigerants

The refrigerant is a substance that was used in heat-absorbing devices or cooling devices to absorb the heat from the surroundings and lower down the temperature.

The Air conditioners, refrigerators are prime examples of it; where refrigerants are used to cool down the temperature.

Technically speaking, the refrigerant circulated in the coil of the AC and transforming its state continuously from liquid to gas or vice versa. When it passes through the high-temperature room, it absorbs the heat and turns into gas form. Later, the compressor is used to cool down its temperature and compressed it back into liquid form.

Now, various refrigerant gases i.e., R32, R410A, R22, R290, etc. are used in this process where each has different properties and varying levels of environmental friendliness.

While buying Air conditioners, it becomes necessary to understand the difference between R32 and R410A or any other refrigerant.  We have summarized the significant irregularities among them in the next section.

Difference Between R32 vs. R410A vs. R22 vs. R290

RefrigerantGlobal Warming LevelOzone Depletion
R-221810Medium
R-32675Nil
R-134A1430Nil
R-2903Nil
R-410A2088Nil
R-600A3Nil

As we can examine each refrigerant affecting global warming at different levels, perhaps most of the refrigerant doesn’t have any ozone depletion except R-22.

Among the commonly used refrigerant gases in AC (R-22, R32, & R-410A), the R-32 has the least potential to harm the environment as its global warming level is low as compared to others.

Will it affect the AC cost?

Where all the air conditioner brands are upgrading to R32 or R-410A, there are still some old models that use R-22 refrigerant. It may cost less, but it’s highly not recommended to purchase R-22 AC because of the following two reasons.

  • The primary reason is it affects the environment profoundly, and it’s our responsibility to avoid such products.
  • It’s outdated technology, and the user may face problems in the future if the gas leak occurred in AC.

Type of Refrigerants

Till now, we have read about various refrigerants, but all those are scientific names, and the thing that makes them different is the core substances. The following chemical compounds are used in those refrigerants, and here we’ll explore more about the same.

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

These are the anthropogenic compounds that were in operations since 1930 in various home appliances like refrigerators, air conditioners, etc. but it discontinued in 1994 considering its harmful effects on global warming and depletion of the Ozon layer.

R12 or Dichlorodifluoromethane is the reason behind releasing these harmful CFCs into the atmosphere.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)

It’s the compound of hydrogen, chlorine, fluorine, and carbon atoms primarily created in the 1980s to replace the existing use of CFC in refrigerators and AC.

The R22 uses these substances, which is the most common ac gas in the last few years. It is better than R12, but still, it has considerable harmful effects on the environment.

The sad part is its not eliminated from the society till now, and many ac brands are still using it. So, try to avoid those products containing R22 whenever you’re buying AC in the future.

R32 vs R410A vs R22 vs R290 - Air Conditioner Refrigerants 1

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

The HFC is the cousin substance of HCFC as the core structure of these particles contains the same components; hydrogen, fluorine, carbon.

It is considerably better than HCFC as it has no Ozon depletion effects and even handles global warming in a better way. The air conditioner refrigerant gases like R32, R134, & R410A are made up of Hydrofluorocarbons.

Hydrocarbons (HC)

The hydrocarbons are the compounds that are purely made of hydrogen & carbon. These hybrid compounds are the most natural form of refrigerants as they occur in the earth’s material cycle.

Hence, the R-290 (Propane) and R-600A (Iso-Butane) are the most environment-friendly refrigerants that are currently available in India. Perhaps, there are more than 15 Hydrocarbons that can be used as refrigerants in the future.

Many refrigerator brands have already started using R-600A and adapting the new changes quickly to save the environment from hazardous effects.

The Global Warming Effect

When we feel the summers are getting warmer every year and winters are getting colder, all of these are the result of climate change. The climate is becoming very vibrant and erratic day by day because of Global Warming.

The rising level of seawater and unstable weather all are signs of Global Warming, and it’s our responsibility to eliminate the use of the products that are increasing it.

Ozone layer depletion

The Ozone layer depletion occurs when CFCs and halons cause chemical reactions that break down O3 (Ozone) molecules and reducing the density of Ozone molecules. That affects the Ozone layer’s capacity for absorbing Ultraviolet Rays (UV rays).

UV rays are harmful to our environment and cause many problems like skin cancer, eye cataracts, etc. The Ozone layer prevention is at the highest priority for everyone. That’s why it’s recommended to opt for a refrigerant that has no effects on Ozone depletion.

What to take away from all this?

Considering the complete scenario, It’s buyers’ responsibility to prefer the refrigerants like R32, R600A, or R290 (if available) while buying any heat exchanging appliance. Not only that, better refrigerant also has better efficiency in terms of saving electric energy. So, It’s a win-win situation for all of us.