I've found some previous discussion on this issue on the net, but many
of the threads on usenet are at least 2 years old, so I thought it
might be worth openinng this topic up for debate again.
I live in the Washington DC area and it has come time to replace my 20
year old RUUD a/c unit. There are leaks in both coils and the
compressor is going bad.
I've recieved estimates that range between $3,000 and $3,600 for a 3
ton unit from a number of contractors in the area. Most of them have
recommended Bryant or Carrier units. My current concern is which
refrigerant to use. The contractor that came in with the lowest bid
recommended a Freon (R-22) unit. When discussing his choice, he stated
that it was more expensive than R-22, that it had been something that
was initially hyped but has lost market momentum, and that his techs
didn't like working with Puron (R-410a) due to the high pressures and
the number of problems they have seen with the new refrigerant. He
also stated that chlorine free replacements for Freon were soon to be
Another one of the contractors had the opposite opinion, saying that
Freon was a thing of the past and that there was no concern with the
use of R-410a as a refrigerant -- all the kinks had been worked out,
the pressures weren't anything worth worrying about and that it was
the refrigerant of the future. If I was planning on staying in my
house for only a few years, I might choose freon, but for the long
term R-410a is the way to go.
To me it seems the epa is neutral on the whole thing:
I guess my biggest concern is that the price of freon will skyrocket
over the next few years. I'm planning on staying in this house for
awhile, so I'd like to choose the system that will be the least
expensive to maintain and operate over the long term. I'm not as
concerned about the environmental impact of Freon because A/C is a
closed system and a well maintained unit should leak nothing into the
atmosphere (if I'm horribly wrong-minded here, I'd be interested to
entertain opinions). I guess my second concern is whether the
increase in efficiency of R-410a over R-22 is a big deal over the long
The only reason this is even a question for me at this point is I tend
to be an early adopter and I have to feel pretty justified in not
going with the latest and greatest. However, when homes are concerned,
it's a tough call -- for example I have aluminum wiring in this house
(not put in by me) and well, that 'technology' didn't turn out so hot.
So, any advice would be appreciated -- even if it's someone who's
saying I have a R-410a unit and is has/hasn't worked well for me.
I've been in the field, having got my EPA card in 1994, and
done some refrigeration and AC work since then.
As you have noticed, the wild card is the government. The
same govt which promises that R-22 will be around for the
next 20 years is the same govt which promised that the
Patriot Act would not be used against citizens. Like the
school teacher in Buffalo NY who was charged with federal
crimes cause he was studying some kind of fungus, and had a
bunch of test tubes in his home.
There's a pretty good stock of R-22 out there. It is proven
technology. The Fed didn't confiscate all the old freon when
they passed the law, and not expected to this time.
I'd go with the R-22 system. It is proven, and works well.
You're thinking of the "Lakawana Six" who all pled guilty to
terrorism-related activities. Nothing to do with mushrooms. The Patriot Act
is designed to be used against both citizens and non-citizens who conspire
to commit mass murder.
There was an investigation into the hazmat stuff found in the basement of a
Buffalo home where police were called to investigate a death. Owner said it
was "art." No charges were filed
On 7-Jun-2004, email@example.com (Drew Farris) wrote:
But your existing system leaks! What makes you think your new one
is going to be magically better? You say you'll only be in the
house a few more years - how well will the next owner maintain the
Some folks think that the ozone problem has been fixed. However,
this past Saturday's UV levels were the highest I've ever heard
in my area.
Do the right thing - go with the new stuff.
On THAT note....what year is the vehicle you drive? If its newer than 93,
why are you not screaming for that R134a thats as bad as R12 to be out of
the system? Its far from perfect....particularly since there are new R12 and
134 repalcements that are better.....and safer....
[original post is likely clipped to save bandwidth]
That presumes real science to support the "new stuff". There are only
models, little to no data.
A few years ago, my state (MA) mandated "cleaner" burning gasoline. Years
later, ground water pollution from the new additives is alarming. So much
Personal home page - http://gogood.com
gerry misspelled in my email address to confuse robots
That's what a lot of folks said about the old stuff, but there's a big
hole in the ozone layer and it isn't going away.
Internationally, the US is famous for not going along with environmental
issues. The US signed onto CFC and HCFC elimination. If that doesn't
tell you this thing is real, I don't know what will.
R-22 ("Freon") will be around for 20 more years. Yes, there is a cap on the
manufacture of new R-22 and that cap will get smaller (I think there was a
35% reduction as on Jan 1, 2004).
In my house, I will not use R-410a. I don't care for it and I feel there
will be a better solution before R-22 is completely gone.
FWIW, my Dad had central AC installed in the house I grew up in back in
1969. When he sold the house in 1987, he never had to add any refrigerant
and the only work done to that system was a condenser fan motor I installed
in 1986. I've never had to add any refrigerant to the system in my house
Cheaper Carrier units...not bad in their own right.
First, low bid is NOT always the way to go. We have a saying in the trade,
you can pay me now, or you can pay me later, but its up to you when you want
R-22 is a proven performer. There is ALREADY a replacement for R22, and more
on the way.
With things as they are now, I dont expect R410 to be around long, and if it
is, there will be another one to replace it, since it is far from perfect.
The BIGGEST problem with R410, is not so much the refrigerant...I mean...so
WHAT a couple of jugs of the stuff have exploded in vans in AZ and CA....the
way around that is to carry it around in a 5 gallon bucket of water when its
in the service trucks...its the OIL. it is hydroscopic, and EVERY make of
unit states clearly that the unit can NOT be open to the atmosphere for more
than 30 minutes. Period. Sometimes it will take longer than that to work on
the unit when its broken, and it WILL break.
Techs have to be more careful than ever, since the oil absorbs moisture so
fast, that when you are changing hoses, if you get a little spray on your
skin, it will be cracked and blistered in the morning, unlike R22 and the
oils used with it.
BTW...we dont call it Freon either, unless we are talking about R12.....even
thou, DuPont is the ONLY company that legally can call any refrigerant they
make Freon, as its a trademark of DuPont..
Just info there..
FAR from it.
Carrier did this back a few years ago...they said the SAME things about
R500. It was the NEXT BIG THING......ask them about that, and look at the
backpedal that you get.
For the next few years, its the optional refrigerant. There are more that
will be tested, and proven, and the government will allow that to come in as
well, as they have NU22 and I expect that NU22 machines may well be on the
way..might be wrong...but it seems foolish to bank in a refrigerant that
will run over 850PSI, compared to 250.....
Lets see......you got 20 years out of your old unit...you wont get that out
of the new one, from anyone. Redundancy and failure is, I hate to say it,
built into the units. R22 wont be gone for...wow..almost that long, and I
can tell you this...the prices on teh new 410 units are stupid. I mean flat
out dumb. What I can pay say...$600 for wholesale, the new units are over $1
500. Not to mention the retrofit work of new linesets, and such that go
along with this.
I have R22 in my home. Its a new unit, and I work on them for a
living....hummmmm,......if 410 was the save all its claimed to be, dont you
think that I would have it in my home, since as a dealer I can get any unit
I want for next to nothing for personal use?
Installing another unit upstairs finally....its going to be a R22 unit as
Do I like 410 units? Sure..they are GREAT profit machines, and repairs are
almost always more than a R22...and no....warranty isnt going to pay for
everything that breaks..
...its the OIL. it is hydroscopic, and EVERY make of
POE oil has been used for years in many applications. You will find that if
you use applicable workmanship standards when opening the system, there will
be no problems.
I guess I don't have sensitive skin. I've had it on my hands and never
experienced this, it just made my hand oily until I wiped it off. :-/
Or R-22, or R-114, or R-500, or R-502. DuPont sells/sold all these
refrigerants under the Freon family. Just info... The Freon thing gets on
my nerves too!
Yep, they screwed that one up. I believe there's a few more manufacturers
on board with this one as well as a few more years of research than last go
850? Apples to apples - At 250psi, R-22 is condensing at about 118 deg F,
that transposes to about 400psi for the R-410a.
While I don't see the extreme swing in wholesale prices from R-22
high-efficiency to a R-410a unit of equal efficiency, I agree that the
difference is a bit wide.
To each his own. I'm using the Puron in the new home I'm building since I
can get it next to nothing for personal use as well. :-) I don't
necessarily like it or dislike it but I must say that the arguments against
it are the same ones used when R-22 was introduced. Look at the pressure
differences between R-12 and R-22. :-)
I would expect this to change when R-22 prices increase. It is quite a few
years until that happens, longer than the lifespan of equipment installed
today even. Who knows.
Ever been in Southern CA? :) Park your van on a hot day, and you might reach
over the safe limit there...:)
Sure has been, but we are talking about the AVERAGE tech....I went to a
dealer meeting the other week, and the #1 thing that amazed me, was how
many OWNERS didnt have a training program in place to reinforce the basics..
Screws me up..this was talked about with several others in the past...must
be a personal thing...really.
Nah..its not as bad as...
Can ye come over and put some of dat Freezone stuff in ma AC?????
Yup, but I think as well, that there are more looking into R22 replacements
other than 410.
Figure a clogged coil...OK..I should have made that clear, since otherwise,
now looking back it looks like a scare technique.
Wasnt the plan...and I still would not want to be near one if the old
lineset was reused, and was weak to start with...
Same...maybe, but one thing I do need to add is that the lack of training in
the industry right now, when we are so close to a major ban, and the
industry as a whole is embracing, altho reluctantly, the 410, is scary. Wait
till the units start to fail in 5 more years...
Nah, I'm scared of California. I don't wanna stand past that big crack in
the earth. ;-)
Yep - Absolutely scary how many Dave's last in the biz for more than a
It must know you don't like it!
And people wonder why we drink, smoke, and curse.....
Yep, I'm reserving judgement until the dust settles, but I have had good
results with 410 thus far.
Back to the good practices thing, I know they will be used - but it might
clean up the trade a bit and get rid of the hacks after the first round of
The mother ship that introduced Puron, hehe, has had units running since
'96. I know that's not factoring in the hack anomoly but it can be
successful if installed properly. See above comment about industry
Bottom line, I'm not for or against it - I'm installing Puron units with
great efficiency ratings and great warranties. I think the price gap will
drop as time goes on and whatever the industry settles on will be my wagon
I see it as a poor choice rushed to market for all the wrong reasons.
Oh well we all know the engineers and marketing dept know best (-:
As to the pressures well someone's going to lose an eye.
As to the POE......yeah that's just brilliant.
HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here.
All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.