How To Look At A House
McGarry and Madsen's home inspection blog for buyers of
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How can I tell if an air conditioner uses R-22 or R-410A refrigerant?
Tuesday, July 10, 2018
You can find what type of refrigerant the system uses by examining the fine print on the manufacturer’s data plate, on the side of either the condenser (outside unit) or air handler (inside unit). Some manufacturers make it easier for you by putting a separate sticker on the condenser with the refrigerant spelled out in tall letters, like the one shown above we found on the side of a Tempstar condenser from 2013.
Carrier is another company that often attaches a big sticker announcing the use of their trademarked version of R-410A, called Puron, and they were the first to introduce the new refrigerant to the market in 1996. It was created as a replacement for the older R-22, which the EPA determined was detrimental to the earth’s atmosphere. The EPA has been gradually tightening of supplies of R-22 in the U.S., which will end with an outright ban on manufacture of new R-22 in 2020.
The data plate photos shown below, with the refrigerant type circled in red, should help you locate the info on your machine. R-22 will sometimes be alternately noted as HCFC-22 because it is a HydoChloroFluoroCarbon, and R-410A may appear as HFC-410A. The year your system was manufactured will also provide a clue: before 1996 will be R-22, 1996 through 2009 could be either one, and 2010 or later will likely be R-410A—because new systems were required to be only R-410A beginning January 1, 2010.
Also, see our blog post When does the ban on R-22 air conditioning refrigerant take effect?
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