Refrigerant is the working fluid for air conditioners or refrigeration system. It undergoes phase change transition from liq to gas and vice versa to produce refrigeration effect in the refrigeration or air conditioning system. There are no. of refrigerants available in the market and keeps confusing us for best refrigerant for home air conditioners. Lets discuss common refrigerant used for household application.
The common refrigerant used in Air conditioning and their basic detail are
The ozone depletion potential (ODP) of a chemical compound is the relative amount of degradation to the ozone layer it can cause, with trichlorofluoromethane (R-11 or CFC-11) being fixed at an ODP of 1.0.
Global warming potential (GWP) is a measure of how much heat a greenhouse gas traps in the atmosphere up to a specific time horizon, relative to carbon dioxide.
Like other industries refrigerant has also developed much with the time, Earlier R12 was commonly used for refrigeration and air conditioning in 90s. R12 comes from group of CFC refrigerants where both chlorine and fluorine were present in the refrigerant, the Global warming potential of R12 is very high at 10200 and ozone depletion potential is 1, Due to damaging impact of refrigerant to the ozone layer manufacturing of these refrigerants were banned first at developed countries in 1996 and at developing countries in 2010 though montreal protocol.
Less ODP gas of R22 ‘Chlorodifluoromethane” was used as substitute to R12 where GWP and ODP was relatively very low, refer table above.
As R22 is comes from HCFC family and having ODP and GWP, It is also phase-out at developed countries and in process of phasing out at developing countries.
R32 and R410A are the most commonly used refrigerant in the residential air conditioners having zero ODP, R410A is having higher GWP than R32.
R32 is slightly flammable and because of risk of hazard, R410A was developed with lower flammability hazard with the mixture of R32 and R125. However R410A is operated at higher pressure hence condenser of R410A is larger in size than R32 condensers.
Now a day’s R290 is also being used in air conditioning system, R290 is highly farmable gas and leakage of the gas may lead for fire. Proper precaution needs to be considered while using of R290 as refrigerant for residential use.
Lets check which can be best refrigerant for home air conditioners.
As R22 is under phase-out it is advised not to purchase new air conditioners with R22 as refrigerant gas.
Air conditioners with R410A, R32 and R290 may be selected keeping in mind the flammability risk associated with the refrigerant. If you wish to have safer refrigerant gas for residential use, go for R410A. R32 may also be considered considering medium flammability.
As R290 is highly flammable it should be avoided for residential use even if it is selected, special precaution to be considered while installation & maintenance activity. Air conditioners must be purchased from reputed manufacturer
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