R-32 Vs R-410A – Air Conditioner Refrigerants

R32 and E410A are both types of refrigerants for Air conditioners. These two are very common types of refrigerants. Generally, refrigerants are considered as the harm causing agents to ozone layer. But, the R32 and R410A doesn’t fall in that category, both of them do not cause harm to the environment.

What Is a Refrigerant and Why Is It Used

Refrigerants play an essential role in Air Conditioning.  Ever wonder how an AC works, how is it possible for a machine to cool the room when the outside temperature is like a furnace.  Actually it’s the refrigerant that absorbs the heat present in the room and transforms it from a low pressure gas into a high pressure liquid form.  The refrigerant is present in the coil of the air conditioner.  It helps dehumidify the indoor air once it passes on into the room when the fan blows hot air over the coils and removes it to the exterior. Air conditioning is possible only because of refrigerants. 

R22 is one of the most common refrigerants used for conditioning the air over the years.  It is a mixture basically in liquid form used in heat pump during the refrigeration cycle.  It undergoes transformations like from liquid to gas and back to liquid.  Fluorocarbons and/or chlorofluorocarbons were used during the 20th century but since Ozone preservation steps were being initiated they have been phased out.  Ammonia, Sulfur Oxide, Propane etc. are some other common refrigerants. These refrigerants are used in both split and window ACs.

Different Types of Refrigerant

r32 refrigerant

There are several types of refrigerants that work towards cooling the air in a specific area. Refrigerants are used in various appliances such as air conditioners, cooling machines, etc. They typically use the thermodynamic phenomenon of phase-wise changes for converting gas into a liquid and vice-versa.

Though useful, refrigerants are considered to be a significant contributing factor in global warming and ozone depletion.  Advancement in technology has brought environmental-friendly refrigerants that have now eased upon the earlier perspective.

Given below are the types of refrigerants and their uses in different places.

We classify refrigerants in to two basis categories viz.

1. Refrigerants that are for Industrial use and

2. Refrigerants used in the Building space.

Industrial use refrigerants are water, HFC R134A, Hydrocarbons (HCS), Ammonia (R717), CO2 R744 and that for Building use include HFC-22 (R-22), R-410A and R-600 series refrigerants. You can adjust the compressor of an Inverter AC to control the refrigerant which cannot be done with non-inverter AC. Check the difference between inverter and non-inverter ACs with us. 

R-12

Known as Freon in common terms, R12 cooled incredibly well. On a safety note, it was quite safe like it was neither poisonous nor inflammable. R12 was widely used in chillers, dehumidifiers, ice making machines, water coolers, refrigeration etc. Unfortunately R12 was banned due to the damage it caused to the Ozone layer. The chlorine found in R12 would not break down when vented or leaked in to the atmosphere and the due to this the Ozone was eroding slowly. There are international restrictions on how much refrigerant can be produced due to its anti-atmosphere effects.

R-22

The chemical name of R22 is Hydrochlorofluorocarbon 22 (HCFC-22). R22 is in use since years now and used in air conditioners – home and car, splits, heat pumps, and other cooling machines. In a home or auto air conditioner designed to work with R22 refrigerant, when the system needs a recharge, a number of issues prevent the direct substitution of R134a. Since R134a has a lower thermal conductivity than R22, so an R134a system needs a larger heat exchanger. R-22 will be phased out going ahead due to international environmental concerns. 

R-410A

R-410A is a chlorine-free refrigerant that meets the international safety standards, specifically the US EPA’s environmental guidelines. Invented and patented in the US by Allied Signal, it was developed as an alternative to R-22 and is sold under various names like EcoFluor R410, Genetron R410A, Puron and Suva 410A among others. R410 containers are painted in red color.

Honeywell (erstwhile Allied Signal) is the market leader worldwide for R-410A though now there are numerous licensed manufacturers who sell R-410A. It was first introduced by Carrier Corporation in ACs during the late 90s era trademarked as Puron.

R-410A is widely used internationally and preferred by manufacturers in the USA, Japan as well as across European nations. There are specifically designed parts for the R-410A and also it requires different tools for servicing, to follow safety standards and techniques. Both R-32 and R-410A have similar properties; here we are going to compare R-32 vs R410a – which cools better?

R-32

The first company to introduce R-32 in air conditioners was Daikin. The HFC family of refrigerant R-32 is extremely safe, far from being highly flammable and toxic. It is non explosive and extremely difficult to ignite. It is also listed in ISO at 817. The refrigerant R-32 is extremely environmental-friendly and its Ozone depletion potential is Zero.

It is a single component refrigerant. Machines that use R-32 consume 20% less refrigerant thus making it cost effective in operations. It also quickly recycles. Even 410-A is unfriendly to greenhouse gases whereas R-32 is not. HCFC / R22 that is more widely used in air conditioners will be phased out by 2030 and R-32 will replace it everywhere. In Europe it is introduced as alternative gases and also widely used in India. The carbon level is R32 is low and that makes it the ideal solution for many buildings and companies that use ACs. Systems that are built upon this technology are highly efficient and have longer life span with low cost. Now, let’s look at the difference between R-32 and R-410A.

R-32 Vs R-410A – Which is Better?

compare r32 and r410a

R-32 refrigerant is a low GWP refrigerant; it consists of only 32% of the GWP then that of R410A which is a more frequently used refrigerant.

R-32 is fluid based and R410A is a mixture of R32 and R125.

Though more commonly used HFC in air conditioners is R410A, the future is R32 as it is more environmental-friendly

While R-410A still affects green gases, R-32 is completely safe and has Zero Ozone depletion.

Cost wise also R-32 is fairly better than R-410A.

Safety concerns are relatively lesser in R-32 as it is reliant on standard safety procedures to be followed by service providers.

Is R-32 more Efficient than R-410A? Yes, when you compare R-32 and R-410a, R-32 is better and efficient as compared to R-410A.

Chemistry

R-12 formula CCl4 + 2HF → CCl2F2 + 2HCl

R-22 formula HCCl3 + 2 HF → HCF2Cl + 2 HCl

R-410A formula is a mixture of (CH2F2, called R-32) and (CHF2CF3, called R-125)

R-32 formula CH2F2

Effects on Global Warming

Global Warming Potential (GWP) quantifies the impact of greenhouse gases on global warming.  More and more research is pointing towards chemicals including most of the refrigerants as major contributors having GWP. CFCs, HCFCs and HFCs absorb radiation forcing climatic changes that make the atmosphere warm. Increase in sea temperature and melting of ice all over the planet are caused due to emission of greenhouse gases. Hot climate results in expansion of oceans and causes sea levels to rise thus low lying and coastal areas are brought under the threat of submersion.

Effects on Ozone

Ozone is a layer in the atmosphere that prevents harmful wavelengths of ultraviolet rays from passing to the earth.  It is a kind of natural preventive filter above the earth.  These ultraviolet rays if surpass the Ozone layer can cause sunburns, skin cancer, permanent blindness etc.  Refrigerants are responsible to cause greenhouse gases. CFCs damage the Ozone layer and destroy Ozone molecules. Ozone depletion will cause a catastrophic effect on world climate change.

Conclusion

Refrigerants are an important part of technological evolution. Though environmental impacts cannot be overruled, technology advancement with age will make use of refrigerants completely safe for human use. So, overall, which refrigerant in AC is best? The one that is human-friendly as well as environmental-friendly are the best refrigerant for AC.

Given the excellent performance and wide acceptability of R-32 going forward with further improvement in science refrigerants will be an ideal component in cooling technology.