So what's the fuss about the different air conditioner (aircon) refrigerants? Browse around and 2 main terms pop out everywhere. R22? R410A? When I was researching on aircons to buy for my new place, I was mainly concerned with two things: maintenance and the price. Frankly, I wasn't too bothered about R22 or R410A. To keep it simple, I like to call them the "R brothers". :)
So why should you bother about the "R brothers" now? The main reason is simply because Singapore has signed the Montreal Protocol and will freeze all production and selling of Hydro-chlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs), including R22 refrigerant in aircons, by 2016.
What does this mean for you?
There will be no more selling and producing of R22 products and refrigerant on 1 Jan 16. You can continue to use your R22 products but as the supply of R22 refrigerant decreases, this will result in higher prices for R22 refrigerant.
A check on the online courts website shows that they are no longer selling R22 aircons. Newer models use R410A refrigerant. Hence it will only be the older models that will be using R22 refrigerant.
If you are purchasing your first aircon unit, take the long-term view and get one that uses R410A refrigerant! The newer models are not only more efficient and stronger, it is also better for the environment as it does not contribute to ozone depletion and helps reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Do your part for the environment!
If you are an existing aircon user, you can continue to use your R22 aircon model but you will not be able to top up the unit with R410A refrigerant due to the higher pressure which the R22 models cannot withstand. (Something interesting to note is that there are hobbyists overseas who try to convert their own aircon's R22 compressor to use R410A refrigerant but this sounds really dangerous and complicated to us. We would rather you make the switch now to R410A models since it will also bring you energy savings!)
Another bonus is that R410A models have cleaner piping system. Most of the aircons using R410A have an additional device called “filter drier”. Its purpose is to filter, clean, and dry the refrigerant and oil as it 'moves' through the piping system (source: http://singapore-aircon-r410a.blogspot.sg).
Remember to engage a trained installer or technician as R410A is technically more challenging than R22 due to its higher pressure.
[PSSSSSTTT!! Did we also tell you that we like our Aircon boy? And yes, our aircon technician is really called "Aircon boy"... read more about them at http://www.airconboy.com.sg]
Finally here's an infographic to help you understand why the new kid on the block- R410A- is better for you in the long run. Here's a 101 on Refrigerants R22 vs R410A!