What's the Difference Between Puron and Freon, and Which Should You Use?
Puron vs. Freon—an age-old questions that plagues the mind of homeowners across Louisville, Kentucky. At Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling, the differences between Puron and Freon are taken seriously. These two refrigerants are the most popular with HVAC systems, but are they actually the best?
In this blog post, our highly trained HVAC technicians discuss Puron and Freon as well as some of the greener alternatives on the market. Depending on the kind of HVAC system you have, you may be able to switch to a greener alternative. Homeowners need not worry about the energy efficiency of their HVAC systems with the help of Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling on the job!
What Do Refrigerants Do?
Puron and Freon are classed as refrigerants. In an HVAC system, the refrigerant is in charge of cooling air in an air conditioner and removing cool air in a heater. Air conditioners use refrigerant to make the warm air outside cold. That cold air then enters your home through vents. On the other hand, heaters pressurize the refrigerant, which allows it to freely move around the indoor and outdoor components of the system. This removes heat from the outdoor coils and puts it inside.
But what exactly is refrigerant made from? Refrigerants are chemical compounds that start as a liquid and change to a gas. This process repeats several times. Back in the old days, these mixtures were highly flammable and toxic. Now, Freon and Puron are used in the place of those dangerous blends. Still, these two substances could be further improved.
Refrigerant makes more than just your HVAC system work. Refrigerants are used in freezers, refrigerators, and vehicles. Even though refrigerant can be found in all of these systems, it’s incredibly dangerous to handle. Because of that, homeowners should not under any circumstances attempt to change refrigerant or repair leaks. For those jobs, be sure to call in a professional.
The Basics of Puron vs. Freon
The main problem in the Puron vs. Freon debate stems from a misunderstanding about what these two substances actually are. Many confuse the two blends, which causes major problems for the HVAC system and the environment. HVAC systems use either Puron or Freon. They do not use both. Because of that, homeowners need to understand the differences between Puron and Freon.
Freon populated the refrigerant market for much of the twentieth century. Also known as R22, Freon provided HVAC systems with a greener alternative to a previous refrigerant called R12. R12 consisted of chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, which greatly impacted the ozone. Production of R12 stopped in the mid-90s. Since then, Freon has dominated the market.
However, the Clean Air Act of 2010 mandated that production of R22 must stop by 2020. Though Freon is greener than R12, it still negatively impacts the environment through the greenhouse gas effect.
Of course, this means that some HVAC systems still use Freon as their refrigerant. Here are some key things to know if your system still uses Freon rather than a greener alternative.
- More expensive. If your system still uses Freon, you can expect to pay more for refrigerant. Because Freon production must end by 2020, companies are spending less time creating the refrigerant, which means supplies are low. When supplies are low, prices increase.
- Detrimental to the environment. Freon refrigerant damages the ozone layer. Though the negative impact improved over the earlier R12, the environmental consequences of Freon cannot be ignored.
- Phasing out. Because of the environmental impact, companies are forced to phase out of Freon production by the EPA. While this benefits our society overall, it does mean that Freon-based HVAC systems will no longer be of use by 2020. If you have an HVAC system that uses HVAC, you will need to switch to another refrigerant type.
After the mandate to stop Freon production, Puron became the approved alternative. Thus, the Puron vs. Freon debate seemed to lean toward Puron as the superior refrigerant. However, a number of HVAC systems do still use Freon because it pervaded the market for several decades.
Puron, also called R-410A, marks the shift from ozone depleting refrigerants to greener, safer options. Its impact on the environment are far less than Freon and gets the stamp of approval from the EPA. Here are some more things to know about Puron HVAC systems.
- Less expensive. Because Freon still gets produced—even though it is being produced less—Puron becomes less expensive because supplies are high. That makes Puron more cost effective than Freon.
- Uses less energy. HVAC systems that use Puron are more energy efficient than Freon systems. Because they use less energy, your utility bills won’t be nearly as high as they were with Freon systems.
- Better for the environment. This goes without saying, but in the Puron vs. Freon debate, Puron definitely impacts the environment less than Freon. Though improvements can always be made, Puron takes the prize for most environmentally friendly.
The Puron vs. Freon debate officially ends in 2020 because Freon will no longer be produced. After that time, Freon supplies will deplete until it entirely disappears. When that happens, Puron will likely lead refrigerant sales.
Even with all the benefits to Puron, it still is not 100% safe for people to handle. Because of that, make sure to leave refrigerant issues to the professionals. Here’s some more information on how to safely handle Puron.
- Disposal. When your refrigerant-powered device becomes obsolete or breaks completely, make sure to correctly dispose of the equipment. The EPA has specific guidelines for appliances that use refrigerants.
- Leaks. Refrigerant leaks must be taken care of within 30 days of the leak. You can repair refrigerant leaks by calling a professional. Do not attempt to fix refrigerant leaks on your own. Refrigerant is dangerous to handle without experience.
- Intentional venting. Under no circumstances can you vent refrigerant from your system. Low-loss fittings must be attached to the system to keep refrigerant loss to a minimum when an HVAC system is disconnected, connected, or purged.
Puron vs. Freon: Other Alternatives
Puron vs. Freon seems to be the only competition for refrigerants. However, that isn’t the case. Even Puron has alternatives nowadays. If you are still wary about using Freon or Puron, you have other options. Some of these alternatives are about as environmentally friendly as their direct counterparts, but some are even better for the environment.
- Solstice N41. According to refrigerant company Honeywell, they have created the first non-flammable alternative to R-410A. Also called R466A, Solsctice N41 has the lowest global warming impact among all refrigerants on the market—worldwide. It’s Honeywell’s hope to make Solstice N41 the industry standard.
- R-134A. This refrigerant replaces R12 in home appliances. It does not deplete the ozone, and it also has a lower global warming potential than Puron. For those with outdated systems, R-134A provides a retrofitted solution.
- HFC-32. Also known as R-32, this new refrigerant has been approved by the EPA as a viable R-410A replacement. HFC-32 costs less than Puron and proves to be more energy efficient. Additionally, its global warming potential is much lower than Freon and Puron.
- R-454B. Puron vs. Freon arguments prompted the creation of many alternative refrigerants. In that bunch, R-454B, or XL41, was made. By 2023, this new refrigerant will become the standard for several major commercial and residential companies.
- MO99. As far as Freon replacements go, there are far fewer than Puron replacements. However, MO99 comes closest to Freon and retrofits with most Freon-based appliances. Of course, as Freon goes out of production, so will MO99.
- R-421A. R-421A replaces Freon. This refrigerant can be retrofitted to R22 systems because it has almost identical pressure to the old solution. It’s also a non-flammable replacement for Freon. Even though Freon is getting phased out completely by 2020, this alternative works for systems that still need R22 while they’re still around.
- R427A. Lastly, R427A retrofits R22 systems. This solution is more simplified than other options, so it spans across all kinds of appliances. Out of all the R22 replacements, R427A has the lowest global warming potential which makes it a top choice for homeowners.
To homeowners, Puron vs. Freon doesn’t have to be the only option. These alternatives provide much greener solutions for your HVAC system. As long as refrigerant makes HVAC systems work, homeowners have to find the most energy efficient, low-impact option on the market. With these alternatives, you should be able to find the refrigerant that’s right for you!
Contact Us for More Information on Puron vs. Freon
The Puron vs. Freon argument doesn’t have to burden homeowners. For those who wonder which refrigerant works best, Jarboe’s Plumbing, Heating, and Cooling in Louisville, Kentucky has all the answers. With all the alternatives listed above, you are sure to find the refrigerant that works best for you.
For more information on our HVAC services, visit our website or give us a call. Our trained technicians are ready and waiting to help you with all of your HVAC needs. When you need help with refrigerants—whether you’re running low or need to fix a leak—we have your back! Call today for a free estimate on your service.