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A very hot topic in the HVAC world right now is the difference between the R-22 and R410A refrigerants.
Usually referred to by the brand name Freon
R-22 was outlawed for use in new units as of 2010
R-22 is a hydro-chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) which contributes to the depletion of the ozone
Usually referred to by the brand name Puron
Is approved for use in new residential air conditioning units
R-410A is a hydro-fluorocarbon (HFC) which does not harm the ozone
R-410A will become the new standard for A/C systems in the US starting in 2015
Newer air conditioners are built to be used with R-410A for more efficient operation. It can absorb and release more heat than R-22, meaning your compressor can run cooler, reducing the compressors chances of overheating and burning out. R-410A also works at a higher pressure than the R-22. The new compressors are designed to withstand greater stress, reducing the chance of cracking. Also, compressors need oil to keep them lubricated during operation. Units using R-22 use mineral oil, while units using R-410A use synthetic oil. The synthetic oil is more soluble with the R-410A than the R-22 is with the mineral oil, which means the R-410A is operating more efficiently, reducing the wear and tear on the compressor.
Maintenance of your HVAC equipment is very important. It has been stated by Energy Star that the most common causes of failure for HVAC systems are neglect and dirt. Think about it like this, those units are operating around the clock all year round. That is like putting 100,000 miles on a car. You give your car an oil change more than once a year, right? So why wouldn’t you maintain your furnace and air conditioner? Scheduled maintenance on your equipment can prevent frequent and costly repairs.
Just like any other product, air conditioners come in a variety of brands and sizes. Knowing what size your home needs is not always easy. For residential homes, the most common size is a two ton unit. This does not mean that the air conditioning unit weighs two tons, it means that the unit has an hourly cooling capacity of 24,000 btu’s. This means that it can cool 24,000 pounds of water by one degree in one hour. We also see one ton units, with a capacity for 12,000 btu’s and three ton units with a cooling capacity of 36,000 btu’s.
Air conditioner size is estimated after taking into account many factors. A home comfort specialist will come in and go over things like the layout, the number of windows and their positioning, the age of the home, the current duct work system and how airtight the home is. They will also take into account the pattern or exposure to sunlight, and the amount of sunlight protection provided by the trees in your yard.
As you can see, this is not an easy or a straight forward process. It takes a lot of work to make sure that the right size unit is installed into each home based on its very specific needs. I would recommend getting the advice of a trusted home comfort specialist when deciding to replace, or put a brand new system in place. Their expertise and knowledge will ensure the proper system is installed.