Brief Refrigerant History
Since 1985 it’s been well documented that the ozone layer surrounding the earth has been diminishing. Scientific evidence suggests man-made chemicals are responsible for creating the hole in the ozone layer and that they’re likely to add to global ozone depletion.
R410A is a type of refrigerant - a liquid coolant that makes air conditioning possible. R410A was developed as an alternative to R22 (Freon), which will be phased out over the coming years in response to international environmental concerns.
The Essentials of R-410A
Technicians with R-22 experience will need to become familiar with working with high and low side pressures that are much higher when using R-410A. A typical R-22 system operating normally with a head pressure of 260 psig at a 120-degree condensing temperature and a low side pressure of 76 psig at a 45-degree evaporator saturation temperature will find the equivalent pressures in a R-410A system to be much higher.
Compression Ratio & System Efficiency
At first glance, one might ask the question, with 410A operating at higher pressures are the compression ratio higher and the efficiency less? The answer is no, the compression ratio is about the same or slightly lower than that of R-22 and the efficiency is higher. Compression ratio is the absolute high side pressure divided by the absolute low side pressure. The compression ratio is affected by the pressure differential between the high and low sides of the system not how high both pressures are. Using the previous examples comparing the operating pressures of an R-22 system to an R-410A system, the R-22 system would have a compression ratio of 3.02:1, while the R-410A system would have a compression ratio of 2.98:1. The actual efficiency gains from R-410A are due to its superior thermodynamic values over R-22. Under identical operating conditions the discharge temperature on a 410A system may actually be lower than on an R-22 system.
Compressors used on 410A air conditioners use thicker metals to withstand the higher operating pressures. Therefore, only a compressor designed for 410A should be used with 410A. The ideal compressor type for use with 410A is a scroll built to withstand the higher pressures. The scroll compressor has the advantage over the reciprocating compressor when comparing volumetric efficiencies and internal heat transfer losses between the suction and discharge ports. Scroll compressors compress the refrigerant in stages through the use of up to six individual pockets in its scroll assembly while reciprocating compressors raise the pressure from the suction pressure to the high side pressure in a single stroke. In addition, the scroll compressor’s suction and discharge openings are farther apart than those in a reciprocating compressor thus decreasing heat transfer losses between the suction and discharge ports. Dealers.
The metering device used in a 410A system must be about 15% smaller in capacity as opposed to a metering device used in a R-22 system of the same capacity. It is imperative that only a metering device designed and properly sized for R-410A be used on a R-410A system. In fact, no parts designed for R-22 use should be used on a 410A system.
Refrigerant lines used for R-410A must be properly sized for R-410A systems. It is possible to use existing refrigerant lines from an R-22 system in a R-410A system installation if they are of the correct size however, they must be cleaned of all debris and oil. The best practice is to replace the lines with new copper liquid and suction lines to ensure they are clean and do not have any weak areas that could be a problem at the higher operating pressures of 410A.
The desiccants used in R-410A systems are the same as those used for most other refrigerants. Zeolites, molecular sieve type desiccants work on the principle of a material with small pockets or areas that adsorb moisture by the process of capillary action. This type of desiccant seems to work well with all modern refrigerants including R-410A. The metal shell containing the filter-drier however, must be thicker to withstand the higher pressures of 410A. Therefore, only use filter-driers rated for use on R-410A. R-410A filter-driers are those rated for pressures no less than 600 psig.
R410A The Refrigerant of Tomorrow
Many of new heat pump and air conditioners today use the EPA recognized, chlorine free R410A refrigerant. Because of R410A contains no chlorine, its ozone responsible. R410A is better for use in higher efficiency equipment because of the greater heat transfer rate than R22. Using R410A refrigerant in your next systems not only makes sense environmentally, it can also help you with energy cost savings.
The Current Standard of R22 Freon
Acting in accordance with an international treaty called the Montreal Protocol, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has mandated the eventual phase out of R22 through the Clean Air Act. By 2010, the manufacturing of heating and cooling equipment using R22 will be prohibited, and by 2020 the production of R22 Freon itself must cease. The main reason for this regulatory action is that R22 is a hydro chlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) compound, which contains ozone-depleting chlorine.
Franklin Heating and Air Conditioning
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