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R32 or R410A? Which Heat Pump Refrigerant Is Better?

Views:193     Author:Site Editor     Publish Time: 2021-06-23      Origin:Site

Heat pumps are proving to be a popular option for heating and cooling houses. A chemical compound known as a refrigerant enables the heat pump to achieve its functions. A heat pump refrigerant requires only a little temperature change to convert from gas to liquid and back. Some refrigerants use only one compound while others combine several and are called blends. The current refrigerant in the market is the R410A which replaced the earlier blend, the R22. The R410A is also on course to be replaced by the R32 heat pump refrigerant.

 

How does a refrigerant work?

The compressor compresses the gaseous refrigerant into a high temperature and high pressure gaseous state and sends it to the condenser for cooling. After cooling, it turns into a liquid refrigerant with medium temperature and high pressure and enters the drying bottle for filtration and dehumidification. The medium temperature liquid refrigerant is throttled and depressurized by the expansion valve (throttling part) to become a gas-liquid mixture with low temperature and low pressure (more liquid)。 After the evaporator absorbs the heat in the air and vaporizes, the refrigerant turns into a gaseous state, and then goes back to the compressor for the next cycle.

 

Picking the right heat pump refrigerant

The earliest options for refrigerants were either highly toxic or flammable. The R12 was the first form used from the 1970s to 1994 when its production ceased due to its negative impact on the Ozone layer. The R22 replaced it, and even though it was still slightly less damaging to the environment, it was phased out in the US by 2010 to be replaced by the R410A. The current choice is between R410A and the R32 heat pump refrigerant.


r32 r410a heat pump refrigerant

 

Pros of the R410A

The R410A refrigerant was developed in the early 1990s primarily to serve as an alternative that does not have a harmful impact on the Ozone layer. That's because it has a zero Ozone Depletion Potential (ODP). R410A heat pumps are also relatively affordable at the moment, a price similar to those of the R22. Finally, it is easier to transport and use and store.

 

R32 heat pump refrigerant

The latest option in the industry and the standard set to replace the R410A is the R32. It is a hydrofluorocarbon compound and offers plenty of benefits such as energy efficiency, environmental impact, and safety. These are some of the essential areas in determining the suitability of a refrigerant, and in all metrics, the R32 outperforms the R410A. Some of its benefits include:

 

It meets global regulations on manufacturing environmentally friendly products.

The Montreal Protocol of 1987 and the Kyoto Protocol of 1997 set the stage for global standards of manufacturing environmentally friendly products. Newer regulations have come up with the US now planning to phase out the R410A and the EU's 2014 EU Fluorinated Greenhouse Gas Regulations. All these create further pressure for using refrigerants with low Global Warming potential, of which R32 is currently the option with the best GWP rating.

 

Green properties

R32 posses several green properties compared to other refrigerant options. R410A, for instance, has a zero Ozone Depletion Potential as the only positive green property. However, it has a Global Warming Potential (GWP) of 2088. On the other hand, the R32 heat pump refrigerant has a GWP of 675, which is significantly lower than 2088. It also has an Ozone Depletion Potential of zero. R32, therefore, is the more environmentally friendly and sustainable solution.



Its makeup also adds to its green properties. For instance, R32 is a single component refrigerant and not a blend. This factor makes its liquid and gas state temperatures to remain the same with no saturation glide, as is the case with blends. As a result, such a system makes recycling and recharging easier, meaning you will need less of the refrigerant in the while cycle, which further reduces carbon emissions.

 

Efficiency and energy savings

An R32 heat pump also has the advantage of running efficiently and providing energy-saving benefits. Since it can recycle and recharge more efficiently than other heat pump refrigerant options, the R32 heat pump operates at higher efficiencies. With the increased efficiency, the pump is more environmentally friendly and reduces the amount of energy you need for cooling and heating your home. You thus have lower energy bills monthly and do not suffer from sub-optimal performances.

 

As a new technology, it is inevitable that the R32 will be at a higher price than the R410A. However, that's the only thing the latter has on the former, and even then, the R32 offers better cost savings in the long run. You will also be staying in line with the law regulations, especially for commercial applications. Besides, these factors other reasons you should switch from the R410A or buy the R32 heat pump on your first purchase are;

 

-       With a GWP of 675, the R32 is about 70% lower than the R410A with its GWP of 2088.

 

-    Because of their single component nature, R32 heat pumps use 20% less refrigerant compared to R410 heat pumps. They are therefore less costly to run.

 

-       R410A refrigerant cannot be recycled like R32 since the former is a blend of compounds.

 

-       The R410A operates at high pressures, which poses a security hazard.

 

-   Because of these pressures, R410A requires thicker compressors and thicker-walled tubing to withstand the pressure, which can affect your house's design.

 

-       R410A refrigerant uses polyester oil that is prone to be affected by moisture, which can create acid build-up in the circuit the refrigerant moves in.

 

-      Regulations are phasing out R410A, and it is thus an investment into the future by getting the latest refrigerant solution.

 

As already pointed out, the coming regulations mean you may have to get the R32 refrigerant by default. Fortunately, there are many positives it brings besides its green credentials. It, therefore, makes sense in getting R32 heat pumps from the off than using an option that is being phased out. Unfortunately, you cannot transition an R410A heat pump to an R32 heat pump. Even handling of any refrigerant should be left to trained and qualified technicians. 


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