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Tips when using R-410A

Did you know that more and more residential and light commercial a/c equipment is being built for use with the refrigerant R-410A?

There are several brands being marketed as R-410A.  The more commonly known are Suva® R-410A by DuPont and Puron® by Carrier.  These and others have the same ASHRAE number R-410A.

Important Note: R-410A can only be used in equipment designed for R-410A.  R-410A cannot be used to retrofit existing R-22 a/c equipment due to significantly higher operating pressures and much higher cooling capacity as outlined in the chart below.

To ensure safe handling of R-410A, remember that the head pressure is significantly higher than R-22.  Also, special service equipment is required, including a high-pressure manifold gauge set, high-pressure recovering machine and a high-pressure recovery tank (4BW400). 

Saturation Pressure: R-22 vs. R-410A

When handling R-410A, standard fluorocarbon refrigerant safety and handling practices should be followed.  Use gloves, safety glasses and safety shoes when handling containers.  Avoid skin and eye contact with liquid refrigerant.  Work in well-ventilated areas. Vapors are heavier than air and might concentrate near the floor or in low areas.

Storage requirements for R-410A containers are the same as for R-22 and other commonly used refrigerants.  Cylinders should be stored in a clean, dry area, out of direct sunlight.  Keep valves tightly closed and valve caps and hoods in place when cylinder is not in use.

Because of its enhanced properties, R-410A systems will operate differently than R-22 systems.

Properties R-410A 
Discharge Pressure 50 to 70 percent higher than R-22
Cooling Capacity 40-60 percent higher than R-22
Discharge Temperature 10F lower than R-22
Energy Efficiency R-410A units can be designed to meet U.S. Department of Energy guidelines of 12 to 14 SEER
Lubricant POE

Because of the higher pressure, more system components have been redesigned with increased wall thickness.  When servicing this equipment, make sure you use reversing valves, expansion valves, filter-driers and other components specifically designed for R-410A.

In addition to increased pressure rating, the expansion valve flow areas required to provide the same tonnage as R-22 will be about 15 percent smaller use the correctly rated R-410A expansion valve.  R-410A is a blend of two refrigerants.  To achieve optimum performance, remove as a liquid from the cylinder. Consult your DuPont distributor or OEM for special equipment recommendations

Like R-22, R-410A is non-flammable at normal room temperatures, but like R-22 it can become combustible if mixed with air at elevated temperature and/or pressure.  Do not mix R-410A with air for leak testing or other purposes.  Instead use a mixture of R-410A and nitrogen for leak testing.

Keep pressure in perspective.  The vapor pressure of R-410A is higher than R-22 at 70F.  But these pressures are lower than those of other gages (e.g. oxygen) that you may be familiar with and use routinely.