Common Refrigerants Used Air Conditioners

Refrigerant is what gives your air conditioner the tools it needs to keep your home cool. If you need refrigerant for your air conditioner or you are curious about what type it takes, call USA Home Improvement at (844) 468-7244.

Do not treat your refrigerant as an afterthought. If you’re shopping for a new air conditioning unit, it is a good idea to look into what type of refrigerant you want it to use. Consider cost and energy efficiency.

Some older refrigerants are getting phased out to make room for new, more energy-efficient options. So, the type you choose will have an impact on upfront cost as well as your energy bills down the road.

What Type of Refrigerant Does Your Unit Use Now?

Your air conditioning unit should list the type of refrigerant it takes on the outside of the unit. It is displayed on a large plate or sticker on either the evaporator or the compressor. It could read Freon, Puron, R22, R-410A, or a few other combinations of numbers and letters to identify the cool agent.

You should know what type of refrigerant is being used by your current system before you replace the refrigerant because they are not interchangeable. You could do a lot of damage to your air conditioning unit by trying to refill it with the wrong type of refrigerant.

Always talk to an experienced technician if you do not know what to do. It is possible to convert your unit to another type of refrigerant for greater efficiency, but it will require the expertise of a professional because it can be hazardous.

Types of Refrigerants

There are two categories of refrigerants used today. Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs) are on their way out. They are making room for more energy-efficient hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs). HCFCs have chlorine in the molecules and are destructive to the ozone much more so than HFCs.

Most new air conditioning units use HFCs, but there are still some units that use HCFCs. If you have an older unit, it may take HCFCs, which are still available. But there will soon be a day that they need to be converted.


This type of refrigerant is an HFC. It is used a lot in new air conditioning units, and it does a great job of replacing old HCFC refrigerants. It is a mixture of R-32 and R-125 for better cooling performance. It also won’t harm the ozone, which has led to rapid, widespread adoption by many manufacturers.

R-410A can be expensive, but the price fluctuates as the demand increases. A 25-pound canister can cost as much as $150, and sometimes more.


R22 is more commonly referred to as Freon. Freon is the brand name and is the most widely available type of refrigerant for older air conditioning units. However, this is an HCFC, so it’s being phased out as much as possible.

While Freon is non-toxic, non-flammable, and has a low heat transfer coefficient, it causes ozone destruction because of its chlorine content. You may pay as much as $300 for a canister of Freon, making it a pricey refrigerant solution. Keep in mind there are new refrigerant regulations starting in 2020 that may require you to replace older ac units that use Freon.

Solutions for Banned Refrigerants

If the type of refrigerant in your air conditioning unit is banned, it still may be available for purchase at a select number of retailers or through a professional. But it’s best to upgrade your unit for safety and cost-effectiveness instead. It’s better for you and better for the environment.

If you need help determining what type of refrigerant your unit uses or you need an upgrade, call USA Home Improvement at (844) 468-7244 today.