We recently posted here about plans by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to phase out R22 Freon. Now we have news of the EPA’s plans to phase out another refrigerant – R410A, commercially known as Puron.
How R410A Came to Be
At one time, HCFC (hydrochlorofluorocarbons), which included Freon, were thought to be safe refrigerants for use in air conditioning systems. However, it was determined that they were as bad for the ozone layer as CFCs (chlorofluorocarbons), which they replaced. As a result, R410A was developed as a replacement for HCFCs.
The Global Warming Potential
The Global Warming Potential, or GWP, is a measurement of how much greenhouse gas a chemical traps in the atmosphere – and therefore contributes to global warming. As it turns out, R410A has a high GWP – over 2000. By comparison, carbon dioxide, a gas with little or no global warming effect, has a GWP of 1. The very high GWP for R410A has caused it to be earmarked for phase-out by 2024.
How the Phase-Out Works
In general, the EPA staggers phase-outs to give manufacturers and consumers time to make appropriate changes and to plan for the future. And phase-outs are usually announced with plenty of advanced warning. In the case of R410A, phase-outs for different applications have started as of January 2019. You can peruse the EPA’s rulings in their fact sheet.
Replacement for R410A
Carrier has selected Puron Advance™ (refrigerant R454B) as its replacement for R410A in its residential air conditioning systems. Carrier has called R454B “the best solution to minimize environmental impact and energy use, while improving performance, safety, and longevity, based on the United Nations Montreal Protocol Kigali Agreement phase-down plan for HFCs.” You can read more about Carrier’s decision here.
Will This Affect You?
At this time, it’s unlikely that you’ll need to worry about the phase-out. First, the EPA’s current phase-out timeline doesn’t specifically cover residential AC systems. Secondly, If your system currently uses R410A, it will likely be grandfathered-in, once the EPA begins the residential phase-out. Experts expect that process won’t start until 2024.
But if you’ve been thinking about replacing your AC, we recommend talking to your HVAC professionals. They’ll be able to assess your system and help you decide on your best next steps.
Need to contact an HVAC pro in your area? Check out our convenient dealer locator.