We often get questions about the basics of air conditioning from our customers. We’re glad to help: providing expertise is part of our job! A question we sometimes get is about the different types of refrigerants, and specifically a confusion about the term “Freon” and the newer term “Puron.” This is an understandable confusion because “Freon” is a word that’s used often in a way that’s confusing to someone who isn’t an HVAC technician.
Although it may seem like a small technical point, the difference between Freon and Puron is important because it’s connected to the recent phase-out of older refrigerants. This can mean the difference in whether you choose to replace your current AC.
Anyway, let’s get into the nitty-gritty details…
Freon is a brand name for a specific refrigerant blend
“Freon” is often used as if it refers to all types of refrigerants (refrigerant blends) used in air conditioners, refrigerators, freezers, and other refrigeration equipment. But that’s not what Freon actually means. Freon is a brand name for a specific refrigerant blend known as R-22. The same way that the brand name “Kleenex” gets applied to all facial tissues, “Freon” is often applied to all refrigerants.
But the difference between refrigerants is significant. Each air conditioning system is designed to run on one type of refrigerant blend, and the blends can’t be used interchangeably. R-22 or Freon was the most common refrigerant used in air conditioning systems for decades.
Puron is the brand name for the refrigerant that replaced Freon
Unfortunately, Freon was harmful to the environment because it produced levels of ozone-depleting emissions. In 1996, The US started a program as part of a global initiative to phase-out R-22. The new refrigerant blend to replace it is R-410A, which is sold under the brand name Puron. (If you’re wondering what those letters and numbers mean, they’re designations of the molecular structure of the refrigerant.) Puron is a safer alternative to Freon and doesn’t create ozone-depleting emissions. It also allows the ACs that use it to run at higher energy efficiency.
The R-22 phase-out and your AC
The phase-out of R-22 finished at the beginning of 2020. As of now, Freon is no longer produced in the US, and recycled Freon cannot be used to repair broken R-22 air conditioning systems. This means that if you have an R-22 AC that starts to leak refrigerant—a common air conditioning problem—you won’t be able to schedule air conditioning repair in Glendale, AZ for it.
If you have an R-22 air conditioning system, we strongly recommend you have it replaced as soon as possible. The system is probably already more than 20 years old, which means it was due for a replacement anyway, so you’ll see a significant improvement when you have an R-410A air conditioner installed. You won’t have to worry about getting the right type of AC because all new air conditioning systems use Puron.
Call us today if you have an old R-22 air conditioner and we’ll set you up with a great new cooling system.
Schedule AC services with Cool Touch Air Conditioning and Heating in the Phoenix Metropolitan Area. Kick back and relax—we’ll keep you cool.