R32 vs R410A vs R22 vs R290 (Air Conditioner Refrigerants)

A Refrigerant is a fluid/gas/liquid that is employed in the Air Conditioning systems and Refrigerators.

Without refrigerant, Air Conditioners, Refrigerators or any other freezing technology will not be possible.

ACs contain the refrigerant inside the condenser coils. The Refrigerant absorbs the heat from the room and leaves the hot air out in the environment.

As refrigerant absorbs heat, It undergoes state changes from liquid to gas. When the compressor compresses, it transitions back to liquid.

Air Conditioner Refrigerant

Types of Refrigerants

RefrigerantGlobal Warming PoetentialOzone Depletion Potential
R 221810Medium
R 410A2088Nil
R 32675Nil
R 134A1430Nil
R 2903Nil
R 600A3Nil

Let’s have a look at most common refrigerants used in ACs over the years.

R32 R22 R410A

Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs)

The Making of CFCs including R12 is discontinued in 1994 as the CFCs are one of the main reasons for greenhouse gas effect and depletion of ozone layer.

Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs)

R-22 is the most common refrigerant that is used in the air conditioners. In the late 1990s, the CFCs were replaced by Hydrochlorofluorocarbons. R-22 is the refrigerant that is used in more than 50% of Air Conditioners in India (As of now).

R-22 is just slightly better than CFCs. But, It is also harmful to the environment and also has ozone depletion potential. HCFCs including R22 will be phased within 4-5 Years.

R22 Refrigerant

When you are buying an AC or Refrigerator, have a look at the exterior component. If R-22 is mentioned on it, Do not opt for it. R22 is a refrigerant that is outdated and harmful to the environment.

Hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs)

HFCs (R-410A, R-32, and R-134) are better than HCFCs and do not deplete the ozone layer. But, they also have the potential for global warming.

Please note that R-32 is better than R-410A regarding Global warming. Even the HFCs like R-32, R-410A are also not environment-friendly, but they are a lot better than R-22.

R32 Gas refrigerant

Our Indian Government is also planning to phase out Hydrofluorocarbons in the coming years.

Hydrocarbons (HC)

As of now, the most environment-friendly refrigerants available for Air Conditioners in India are R-290 (Propane) and R-600A (Iso-Butane). The Global warming potential of R-290 is 3 and R-600A is 3, and both of them have zero impact on the ozone layer.

Both R-290 and R-600A refrigerants are energy efficient and are the greenest refrigerants. The Hydrocarbons and Hydrofluorocarbons are highly flammable.

Most of the top Refrigerators in India are already using R-600A, and there are no accidents were reported. Now, most of the users are asking for Inverter Air Conditioners and AC’s that have little impact on the environment.

R-290 and R-600A are the new age environment-friendly and energy efficient refrigerants.

R290A refrigerant

Daikin, One of the Leading AC manufacturer, is using R32 refrigerant which has GWP (Global warming potential) of 675. The R32 Refrigerant has three times lower GWP than R410A (2088). R32 is also more energy efficient than R410A.

Now, Other companies like Mitsubishi, Hitachi, Panasonic, Toshiba, Sharp and Fujitsu General are also using R32 Refrigerants in their Air Conditioners.

Godrej NXW inverter series AC’s use R290 greenest refrigerant that has the lowest impact on the environment. Godrej had sold over one lakh R290 units in India.

People who have seen the 1980s and early 1990s will vouch for the fact that the climate was far more stable than it is now. Today, you have erratic climatic behaviour with the summers getting warmer than it was in the 1980s. There is also talk about the water levels increasing in the oceans.

You can attribute the reason for all these changes to one factor, ‘Global warming.

R-22 depletes the ozone layer

Causes of depletion of the ozone layer

 There are various causes for the depletion of the ozone layer such as vehicular emission, increase in environmental pollution by industries, and the rampant use of chlorofluorocarbons (CFC) in air conditioners and refrigerants.

However, over the past decade, there is a gradual phasing out of the CFCs from the domestic and industrial scene. There is more emphasis on manufacturing environmentally friendly devices.

Our Responsibility

We have a responsibility to secure the future of the coming generations. Reducing global warming and eliminating ozone layer depletion should be our endeavour.

To achieve this objective, you should start using ACs and refrigerators using environment-friendly refrigerants like R-290 and R-600A respectively.

As people begin using these appliances more, the demand for such ACs and refrigerators will increase.

It will prompt manufacturers to switch over to these refrigerants from the CFCs, HCFCs, and the HFCs. It will benefit the environment as a whole.

R-290 and R-600A are the future of Refrigerants. If you are looking to buy an Air Conditioner, Make sure you opt for the model that is not only energy efficient but also eco-friendly.

Chaithanya Vanjari
Chaithanya Vanjari
I'm Chaithanya Vanjari, the Creator and Editor-in-Chief at KitchenArena. With a decade of experience in evaluating large appliances like air conditioners, washing machines, refrigerators, and various small home devices, I possess the technical expertise needed to thoroughly review and understand the operational complexities of these appliances.



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