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Freon vs Puron: Which should you use?

Scientists blame the depletion of the ozone layer in our atmosphere on such chemicals as the refrigerant Freon®-22 (also known as HCFC-22 or R-22). Until recently it was used in most air conditioning and heat pump units. Collectively these gases are known as Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFC). The US banned CFCs (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons minus the hydrogen) used in automobile air conditioners some years ago. Per the Clean Air Act of 1990, no new air conditioners will use Freon starting in 2010 and by 2020 production will be totally banned.

Freon-22 causes no harm while it remains inside the air conditioning unit, but once released, it is damaging to the earth's atmosphere.

Puron® The new refrigerant of choice currently is Puron, the brand name for R-410A. The Carrier Corporation first sold it in 1996, and other companies now use it as well. Puron currently is considered the answer to preventing ozone damage from air conditioners. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has approved R-410A. Should you be considering replacing your cooling system or installing a new system in a new home, you.d be wise to stop using Freon even though you can still obtain it. In addition to environmental damage, it will cost you more as supplies are depleted.

Some of the reasons the cooling industry prefers Puron are:

  • More efficient performance from units already using it
  • Lower energy costs
  • Less costly than continuing to purchase Freon until total ban takes effect
  • Safer for the environment as no greenhouse gas is emitted
  • Most scientists consider it non-toxic
  • It's non-flammable

Negative Aspects: Because Puron remains a relatively new product, improvements are still pending. Moisture factors into the operation of air conditioners and heat pumps used for cooling, so careful installation is important. Also, since Puron is more highly pressurized than Freon, you'll need to replace rather than just switch the refrigerants. Although initially it's more expensive to install a new unit, the savings in operating costs and damage to the ozone layer will ultimately make replacement cost-effective.

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