Refridgerant Articles

Things to be aware of when considering R 22 replacement refrigerants

The best replacement for R-22 Freon is usually R-407c. It has a very low loss in capacity (0 – 5%) relative to R-22 and is less expensive than many other R-22 replacement refrigerants.

If a system has R22 in it already you cannot use a replacement refrigerant to simply add to the R22. For one, R 22 is its own refrigerant whereas the replacement refrigerants are made up of several different kinds of refrigerant designed to mimic operating pressures/temperatures of R 22. Equipment manufacturers will also tell you that unless the oil being used in your HVAC system is POE oil you cannot use a R22 replacement refrigerant in the system in most cases (M099 is the exception). Most of the older systems use mineral oil that is less viscous than POE oil, and the mineral oil does not work well with the new R22 replacement refrigerants. If the compressor has been replaced recently or the system is relatively new it may have POE oil in it in which case adding a R22 replacement refrigerant to a system that has little to no refrigerant in it is a viable solution that should be discussed with the homeowner.

  • If the system is still under warranty no manufacturer’s will warranty the system if you use a replacement R22 refrigerant, as their systems have often not undergone testing with the various replacement refrigerants
  • You should never under any circumstances add replacement refrigerant to a system that has any R22 refrigerant left in it.

If the system uses POE oil than you can talk with the customer about removing the existing R22 and using a cheaper R22 replacement refrigerant such as R407C.

Despite what you see on the posted on you tube/internet it is not advisable to try to add POE oil to a system without completely removing all mineral oil as the oil mixture will gum up metering devices.

If your compressor fails and you elect to change out the compressor as opposed to changing out the entire system, it may be wiser to change out the type of refrigerant to the replacement R22 refrigerants such as R407c. Doing so could save you a considerable amount should your system develop a leak in the years ahead. All new compressors use POE oil and are compatible with R407c and most other R22 replacement refrigerants.

Below you can find different R22 replacement refrigerants and the+/- of each. Legacy Air currently only offers R407c as our choice for an R 22 replacement refrigerant and we do carry it on our trucks. We do not normally carry M099, but will acquire some and install for the customer upon their request in conjunction with a leak repair. Cost is $50 per lb + 1.5 hours labor.

The Facts About Alternative Refrigerants

  • They void all manufacturer warranties
  • They are best suited for condensers and heat pumps out of warranty
  • They are non-ozone-depleting hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)
  • When given an ASHRAE number (designated with an R-), they have been reviewed by the industry standards committees and a safety classification has been assigned
  • They should not be combined with R-22 refrigerant or other gases; never mix refrigerants


Retrofitting a R-22 system with a higher efficiency R410A system

The big question for many homeowners is whether or not you should choose to do this. I am going to try and convince you that one you decide to do this, the bigger issue is making sure it gets done right. Don’t think that we are the only ones facing these issues. Check out what the owner of “Cool Your Air” in Miami has to say to his customers by clicking HERE. From east coast to west, we are all facing these problems.

In our opinion, it used to be cheaper to simply change out your old R22 system with a new R-22 system, but not anymore. The rising costs of the phasing out of the ozone depleting R-22 refrigerant has made the answer to the above question simple: Yes, if you are in need of a complete system change-out you should definitely upgrade your system to the R-410A system. Its higher efficiency ratings and lower operating temperatures, combined with the rising costs of R-22 make it a no brainer. In 2010 manufacturers discontinued making R-22 charged equipment (although they are allowed to sell “dry” equipment). In 2020 the manufacture of R-22 itself will be discontinued. R-22 refrigerant is skyrocketing in price due to government mandated reductions in production, and it is never going to get cheaper.

To help you understand why some things have to be done and why others can’t be done with the 410A retrofit…..​

To retrofit an R-22 system with R-410A system your line set must not be more than 25-50 feet in total distance. If the line set is longer than this, you will have to replace the line set with larger lines. If you are reusing the line set (not recommended if replacement is at all possible) you must flush your system to remove the mineral oil used with R-22 refrigerant as well as any other contaminants. After removing from the path of flow the old filter drier(s) and all existing old equipment (condenser and evaporator), the technician will crimp the outlet of the line set to allow flush to linger longer over the system contaminants.

Once the system has been flushed out with the proper chemical flush, the technician will purge the system with nitrogen, agitating any remaining flushing compound and system contaminants, and pushing them out of your system. The discharge coming from your line sets should eventually show clear.

Next the technician will reinstall your new equipment with new filter driers; they will evacuate the system to boil off any remaining flushing chemicals or nitrogen in the system. After evacuation the system is charged with R-410a refrigerant, and the system is checked for operational performance.

If the old line sets were reused an acid check should be performed before the technician leaves to ensure that there are no traces within your new system.