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What Are the Different Types of Freon?

When it comes to refrigerant, many people use the word “Freon.” However, Freon is actually a specific brand and registered trademark of The Chemours Company, one of the original inventors of chemical refrigerants used in air conditioners, refrigerators, and freezers. Over time, “Freon” has become a generic term for any type of refrigerant, much like how people use “Kleenex” to refer to any brand of facial tissue.

Environmental concerns have led to the development (and banning) of various types of Freon over the years, so if you’re reading this blog, you’re probably concerned about what type of Freon you have and how it will impact your air conditioner. To provide some insight, in this article, we’ll review:

  • What Is Freon?
  • Common Types of Freon
  • How to Determine What Freon You Have
  • How to Transition Away from Using R22 Freon

Have questions about Freon? Contact Champion Air’s HVAC experts!

Our honest and professional technicians will answer any questions about Freon and alternatives. We can also look at your AC and help you determine whether to retrofit or replace your AC system with environmentally compliant refrigerant. Our highly-trained technicians have decades of experience providing top-notch AC repairs and AC replacements, so you can trust us to provide you with the best possible solutions. 

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What Is Freon?

Refrigerant, often called Freon, is a cooling agent commonly used in air conditioners and refrigerators. It comes from a group of chemicals known as chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These chemicals were popular because they provided efficient and stable cooling. However, it was discovered that they damage the ozone layer, which protects us from harmful UV rays. Because of this, there has been an international effort, led by an agreement called the Montreal Protocol, to stop using these harmful substances. Now, the industry is shifting to safer alternatives, such as hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs) and hydrofluoroolefins (HFOs), which are kinder to the environment.

Common Types of Freon

Let’s take a look at the most common types of refrigerant, or Freon, that have been used in the past, as well as newer alternatives.

R12

R12 was a type of CFC refrigerant primarily used in automotive air conditioning systems. It was discontinued in developed countries in the 1990s due to its high potential to deplete the ozone layer and has been replaced by R134a, which is an HFC.

R134a

Widely used in newer automotive air conditioning systems, R134a does not deplete the ozone layer but does have a high global warming potential. It is now being phased out in favor of newer substances like R1234yf.

R22 Freon

R22 Freon, commonly known as “R22,” is a type of hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) that has been extensively used in both residential and commercial air conditioning systems for many years. This refrigerant was favored in the HVAC industry due to its effective cooling properties and compatibility with many older air conditioning systems. Unfortunately, it was discovered that R22 contributes to ozone depletion. This has since led to an international ban on R-22 production and importation, alongside the subsequent phase-out of HVAC systems that used it.

R410A

Known under brand names like “Puron,” R410A is an HFC and does not deplete the ozone layer. It is used in newer air conditioning systems and is favored for its efficiency and because it operates at a higher pressure than R22.

R404A and R507

These are blends used mainly in commercial refrigeration. They are known for their high efficiency and low-temperature capabilities but are also being phased out due to their high global warming potential.

R454-B

Starting January 2025, R454-B will be the required refrigerant for all newly manufactured systems. This refrigerant is part of the effort to comply with environmental regulations and reduce the impact on global warming.

How to Determine What Freon You Have

If you’re wondering, “What freon do I have?” you’re not alone. This is a complex subject, but identifying the type of Freon used in your system is crucial, especially when your AC needs servicing or repair. Here’s how you can find out what Freon your system uses:

  • Step #1: Check the Manufacturer’s Label: Most air conditioning units have a label on the compressor that includes information about the type of refrigerant used. This is the most straightforward method to identify your Freon type.
  • Step #2: Check Your Service Manual: Refer to the manufacturer’s service manual or specifications sheet provided with your system. This documentation will typically list the type of refrigerant required for your unit.
  • Step #3: Speak with a Qualified HVAC Company: If the information isn’t readily available or if you are unsure, contact a trusted HVAC professional, like Champion Air, for clarity. We can recommend whether your system should be retrofitted or replaced to use a more environmentally friendly refrigerant.

How to Transition Away from Using R22 Freon

Given the environmental impact of R22 Freon, it’s worth considering transitioning to newer refrigerants if your system still uses this type. Here are a few points to consider:

Should You Retrofit?

In some cases, older systems can be retrofitted to use newer, less harmful refrigerants. This process involves replacing parts of the air conditioning system to make it compatible with new types of Freon.

Should You Replace Your AC?

Replacement might be a more cost-effective and environmentally friendly option for many older systems, especially those that rely heavily on R22. Modern air conditioners are more energy-efficient and use refrigerants that are safer for the environment.

Understanding the different types of Freon and identifying which type your system uses are crucial for maintaining your air conditioning system’s efficiency and compliance with environmental regulations. Whether you’re dealing with an old system that uses R22 or a newer model that uses R410A, being informed can help you make the best decisions for maintenance and upgrades.


Still have questions? Contact Champion Air’s trusted HVAC experts.

Don’t sweat the R-22 phase-out. Just call Champion Air’s highly-trained, certified, and background-checked technicians for expert guidance. We service all AC brands, new and old, which means we can help you determine the best solution for your AC needs– both now and in the future. Contact us today for fast and reliable service. We provide free estimates for AC replacements, multiple financing options, and customer care unrivaled by other Phoenix HVAC companies!

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