R32 vs R410A AC Refrigerant: What’s the Difference?

Air conditioners and refrigerators all use refrigerants to enable their cooling function. In recent years, refrigerants have evolved from harmful CFC to newer HFC-based compounds that are more efficient, less toxic, and better for the environment. 

In fact, this year marks the first phase of the Environmental Protection Agency’s phase out of R410-a refrigerant in new HVAC systems. One of the foremost replacements is R32.

Here we discuss the differences between R410A and the newer R32, and what it means for you.

What is R410-A?

R-410A is a widely used refrigerant in air conditioning and heat pump systems. It is also known as AZ-20, EcoFluor R410, Forane 410A, Genetron R410A, Puron, and Suva 410A. It is part of the hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) class of refrigerants, and is composed of a mixture of R-32 and R-125.

R-410A was designed to replace the older R-22 refrigerant for residential and commercial AC units in the US, Europe and Japan. 

 

What is R32?

R32 refrigerant, also known as difluoromethane and HFC-32 Methylene Fluoride, is part of the HFC line of refrigerants. R-32 is characterized by its ozone depletion potential of 0, and approximately 1/3 the global warming potential of R-410-A. This means it is much more efficient and environmentally friendly compared to R410-A, especially in terms of the greenhouse effect.

In 2020, the US Congress passed the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act, which gave the EPA authority to regulate refrigerants based on GWP. As part of the EPA regulations, the use of R410-a refrigerant will be phased out in new HVAC systems in 2023, to be replaced by R32 and other refrigerants with lower GWP.

 

What are the Differences Between R410A and R32?

 

  • R32 is newer and developed as the next generation refrigerant, first used by Daikin but now steadily gaining popularity among major brands
  • Both have the same ODP,  but R32 has drastically lower GWP than R410-A 
  • R32 is a single compound, while R410A is made from a mixture of R32 and R125
  • R410A has high pressure making it difficult to handle. 
  • R32 has higher cooling efficiency
  • In AC gas refilling, less R32 is required than R410A
  • R32 is moderately more flammable than R410A

 

What are the Advantages of Switching to R32

More efficient

R32 has higher cooling efficiency, making it more energy efficient than R410A.

More cost effective

Less R32 is required than R410A and it is easy to handle making refilling cost lower.

R-32 can reduce electricity consumption by up to 10%.

Better for the environment

R410A has 3 times more global warming potential than R32

If all R-410A were converted to R-32, the impact to global warming from HFCs in 2030 would be reduced by the CO2 equivalent of approximately 800 million tons (19%). 

 

Is it Possible to Switch Refrigerants from R32 to R410A?

Unfortunately, it is NOT possible to simply swap refrigerants in your existing air conditioner. An AC designed for R410A must only use that refrigerant, and the same thing applies for AC units that use R32. You will need to upgrade to a new air conditioner if you wish to take advantage of R32.

The good news is that AC units that use R32 offer a myriad of benefits that offset the purchase price, such as better efficiency (which translates to lower utility bills), lower refill volume required, and lower cost per refill.

 

Should I replace my R410-A AC now?

Air conditioning systems are designed to last for years. If you have a relatively new or recently purchased AC unit that uses R410-A, there’s no need to go out and immediately replace it with a newer R32 model.

However, if you are looking to replace an old air conditioner, choose one that is already R32 compliant. As R410-a production is gradually reduced and eventually phased out, the refrigerant will be harder to find and become more expensive. Therefore it makes sense to future-proof your system by choosing an AC unit that uses the newer refrigerants, as well being compliant with the stricter SEER2 standards for 2023.

 

Eco-friendly Air Conditioners that Use R32

Friedrich CCF08B10A 8000 BTU Chill Premier Smart Window Air Conditioner, 115V – Energy Star

This 8,000 BTU window AC has cooling coverage of approximately 300 – 350 sq. ft.

It features 3 cooling speeds, plus 3 fan-only settings and auto fan, 8-way air flow control and a new one-piece frame for fast, easy installation. Of course it includes the standard installation hardware and expandable side curtains and it is lightweight – about 50 lbs.

As part of Friedrich’s Chill Premier Series of “smart” room air conditioners, it boasts WiFi connectivity and Amazon Alexa support, enabling you to control by smartphone or voice commands. Once you download the Friedrich Go App, you can easily create and set a custom cooling schedule that fits your schedules and preferences. 

The premium line also features QuietMaster technology which results in quieter cooling operation, as much as 25% quieter than competition. This is accomplished through heavy duty insulation on the inner wall for sound absorption, as well as a stiffened sheet metal casing to help block external noise. Vibration reducing counterweights also help to reduce the sound. Additionally, the wide discharge vents optimize airflow and minimize front panel noise.

Friedrich CCF08B10A 8000 BTU Chill Premier Smart Window Air Conditioner, 115V - Energy Star
Price: $449.00 Friedrich CCF08B10A 8000 BTU Chill Premier Smart Window Air Conditioner, 115V - Energy Star

The new Chill Premier Series is Friedrich's Premium Line of "smart" room air conditioners. Chill Premier is an efficient line of 115 Volt air conditioner...

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Amana PTH153J35AXXX 15000 BTU Class 10.4 EER PTAC Air Conditioner with Heat Pump

This R32 PTAC unit offers 14,400 / 14,600 BTUs of cooling power, a 14,000 / 14,300 BTU heat pump and a 3.5 kW electric heater, providing approximately 9,900 / 12,00 BTUs of electric backup heat. It has an EER of 10.6 / 10.4 and will cool a space that is about 450 – 575 sq. ft

This updated version is even quieter than previous units. The new, improved design reduces operating noises from entering your guest rooms and boasts an STC (Sound Transmission Class) of 29. In addition, the new series Amana PTACs are equipped with RF and Bluetooth connectivity as well as Eden Energy Management System connectivity, allowing for easier troubleshooting and diagnostics as well as unit setting and configuration time.

Lastly, this new series eliminates the user-operated control panel, giving it a sleeker appearance. The front panel can be fixed to the chassis with a concealed screw. This helps avoid unauthorized tinkering with the unit.

Amana PTH153J35AXXX 15000 BTU Class 10.4 EER PTAC Air Conditioner with Heat Pump - R32 - 3.5 kW - 20 Amp
Price: $1,396.00 Amana PTH153J35AXXX 15000 BTU Class 10.4 EER PTAC Air Conditioner with Heat Pump - R32 - 3.5 kW - 20 Amp

  New, Quiet, Re-designed and Re-imagined The PTH153J35AXXX is for residential and commercial use with 208 / 230 volt electricity. This unit offers 14,...

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GE AHY08LZ 8000 BTU Smart Window Air Conditioner with Remote – 115 V – Energy Star

The AHY08LZ features 8,000 BTUs of cool air, capable of servicing 250 – 350 sq. ft or a space that is about 17′ x 20′. It is an Energy Star Rated unit with an 11.4 CEER and has convenient, easy to use features such as an electronic thermostat and a remote control. There are 3 cooling and 3 fan speeds.

New for 2020 is Built-In WiFi – to easily allow you to control your room’s comfort level from anywhere you have an internet connection. The AHY series offers an energy saver mode to further enhance your savings. To remind you to clean the filter, the AHY series has a filter reminder light. The filter on the AHY08LZ is a one-touch lift-out filter, making it easy to clean and maintain

Its 24 hour on/off timer gives you the option of setting your unit to turn on before you arrive home. By using the on/off timer, your space is cool and welcoming when you walk in the door and there is no need to blast the air conditioner, ultimately saving energy.

GE AHY08LZ 8000 BTU Smart Window Air Conditioner with Remote - 115 V - Energy Star
Price: $299.00 GE AHY08LZ 8000 BTU Smart Window Air Conditioner with Remote - 115 V - Energy Star

General Electric is world-known for making appliances and air conditioners that are built to last. They are a leader in the appliance industry and are always lo...

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