What is the Difference Between Freon and Puron?
As a homeowner, you may have heard about different types of coolants available for use in air conditioning systems. Freon and Puron are both coolants used in residential air conditioning units, but these chemicals differ in many of their properties. Our air conditioning maintenance technicians explain what the differences are between Freon and Puron and what those differences mean for you as a homeowner.
Freon, which is referred to by air conditioning maintenance professionals as R-22 or by its chemical name chlorodifluoromethane, is a widely used and well known coolant used in many residential, commercial and industrial cooling needs. Freon has a high safety rating and is loaded into air conditioning units by air conditioning maintenance technicians as a vapor or as a liquid. In air conditioning systems that use Freon, our AC repair technicians lubricate the motor, fan and other components with any of mineral, alkylbenzene and polyester oils.
Puron, also referred to by air conditioning maintenance professionals as R-410A or by its chemical names difluoromethane and pentafluoroethane, was developed by scientists and refrigeration researchers as a replacement for Freon. Puron is a combination of ozone-friendly difluoromethane and pentafluoroethane, and although it is a mixture it behaves as if it were a single chemical. Puron can be used by AC repair technicians in the same types of applications as Freon, but not in the exact same systems due to chemical differences between these coolants. Puron is loaded into air conditioning systems as a liquid and systems that use Puron as the coolant use polyester oils for lubrication. With a high A1 safety rating, Puron is equally safe to air conditioning maintenance technicians and to your family as Freon is.
Freon is a chemical in the class of hydrochlorofluorocarbons, which are known to deplete the Earth's ozone layer. Freon is also a greenhouse gas, which contributes to global warming. Accidental environmental releases of Freon, such as in the case of a refrigerant leak from your air conditioning system or small leaks during the charging or reclamation of Freon are the primary ways that Freon enters the atmosphere and causes environmental damage.
Beginning in 2010, per the Montreal Protocol and the U.S. EPA's Clean Air Act, Freon began to be phased out due to its propensity to deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming. By federal mandate, new air conditioning systems cannot be built to utilize Freon as the coolant. For systems that use Freon and need recharging, Freon must be imported and most manufacturers are phasing out new Freon production. The federal mandates require that Freon be phased out by 90 percent by 2015 and by 99.5 percent by 2020. By 2020, any reclaimed Freon can still be used in existing systems but no new Freon will be manufactured.
New Air Conditioning Systems
While Puron was created by chemists as a replacement for Freon, it cannot be used in the same air conditioning system as one that used Freon. These two coolants have different chemical properties and different requirements for lubrication, loading of the coolant and other concerns. Because of this, Puron cannot be added as a replacement coolant to your older air conditioning system that uses Freon.
If your older air conditioning system requires a costly AC repair, it may be in your best interest to install a new air conditioning system. Since new Freon is no longer being manufactured, recharging an older system with a Freon leak is a more costly endeavor, not to mention the other AC repairs that your system might need. Systems made to use Puron are more energy efficient than systems utilizing Freon as the coolant, which will further increase your energy savings. When your air conditioning system is 10 years or older, a new air conditioning system will pay for itself within just a few years of use due to the greater energy efficiency and lower cost of AC repairs.