As if buying a new air conditioner isn’t a difficult option, now we likewise have to choose between two different refrigerants. Naturally, we’re talking about the well-established R410A and the newly presented R32.
We use the term “refrigerant” to describe gases that we use as cooling agents in the air conditioning unit and other similar devices. The gases are insoluble in water and can take a trip as far up as the stratosphere, because of various chemical reactions.
What ensures refrigerants stand out is their impact on our environment. For example, both R32 and R410A come from a group of gases called hydrofluorocarbons. Their ODP (ozone depletion potential) is 0, that makes them eco-friendly.
Both refrigerants come from the exact same group and share the exact same ODP. So how are they different? Keep reading this article to find out.
R32 vs R410a – A Comparison
Both R32 and R410a are environmentally friendly compared to the harmful CFCs used in the 20th century. There’s still room for improvement as both these Refrigerants can lead to global warming.
The Indian Government is set to phase out making use of less environmentally friendly Refrigerants one-by-one. The well-known CFCs found to have put a hole in the Ozone layer have been phased out.
This is why the identifying which out of R32 and R410a is better, becomes essential. In terms of the worldwide warming capacity and total chemical residential or commercial properties, R32 wins over R410a.
How? Keep reading to discover.
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1. The Chemistry
Both R32 and R410a come from the same household of Refrigerants, i.e. HFCs (Hydro Fluoro Carbons). R32 is pure di-fluoro methane while R410a is a mixture of di-fluoro methane and penta-fluoro ethane. Because R32 is pure di-fluoro methane, R32 is easy to prepare and handle. In regards to performance, both Refrigerants are comparable. What differs is their density.
Given that R32 has a lower density compared to R410a, lower quantity of R32 is utilized in Air conditioners or Refrigerators. What this implies is each time your Air Conditioner runs ‘out of gas’ it can be recharged’ with a smaller quantity of R32.
Note: Most AC compressors are set for R410a refrigerant, which means that in the long run (8-10 years), R32 can spoil you compressor.
2. Effect on Global Warming and Climate Change
One woollen blanket in cold winter seasons is enough to feel cosy and warm. Include another blanket, and you’ll still be okay (if you live in cold regions like Shimla).
Include 5-6 more blankets, heavier and thicker than previously, and you’ll begin squirming annoyingly despite the cold! That’s what greenhouse gases do to Earth. They cover the Earth in a blanket to keep it happily warm. The age of industrialization, however, slanted this equation. As you would know, temperatures are rising as the blankets are getting thicker, more uncomfortable and lethal.
This is why all greenhouse gases are provided with a GWP (Global Warming Potential) score. This GWP rating is compared to the GWP rating of Carbon Dioxide that is assumed to be 1.
So lower GWP is better for the environment. The R410a has a GWP of 2088, therefore R410a is capable of causing global warming is 2088 times more than Carbon dioxide. R32, on the other hand, has a GWP of 675 which means that it is capable of causing global warming 675 times more than Carbon dioxide, but it signigicantly less harmful than R32.
3. Effect On Ozone
All gaseous chemicals used in heat exchanging systems (e.g. Refrigerators and Air conditioners) are checked for their ODP (Ozone Depletion Potential). Both R32 and R410a are ranked ‘0’ on the ODP scale.
What this means is both the Refrigerants have ‘absolutely no’ capability to harm the Ozone molecules in Earth’s environment. There is no hazard to the Ozone layer from either R32 or R410a.
Why should you appreciate Refrigerants?
Have you questioned why it all of a sudden begins raining even when it’s not monsoon? Or Why the summer seasons are getting hotter, and winters appear like moderate summers?
What if I informed you your Air Conditioner or Fridge is one of the many culprits responsible for this climate modification? To be exact, it’s the refrigerant in your A/C and Fridge that is speeding up worldwide warming.
Back in the 20th century, it was CFCs or ChloroFluoroCarbons, a class of chemicals having Chlorine, fluorine and carbon, that were commonly utilized as refrigerants in addition to HCFCs (HydroChloroFluoroCarbons).
When the Chlorine in these classes of refrigerants was found to be accountable for the depletion of the Ozone layer, The Montreal protocol was signed by 180 countries to phase out the use of CFCs by 1995 and HCFCs by 2030.
And appropriately so, most developed countries and some developing nations have currently phased out CFCs, this includes India as well. The process of phasing out HCFCs is continuous.
To replace the CFCs and HCFCs, refrigerants from HFCs (HydroFluoroCarbons) and other Refrigerant blends are being utilized. R32 and R410a both belong to the HFC family.
However, even HFCs contribute to Global warming, although not Ozone depletion. India has actually set an ambitious goal to phase down the usage of HFCs in air conditioners, refrigerators and insulating foams.
‘ Global warming’ and ‘ozone depletion’ is genuine. And we can feel its impacts every day. By being a mindful purchaser, we can do our part to assist Earth as well as conserve ourselves from future regret.
R410a and R32 are both environment-friendly Refrigerants and are commonly utilized in the A/C and Refrigerator market. Both belong to the HFC class of Refrigerants which may not trigger Ozone exhaustion. However, it can still cause global warming.
After a year or two, R410a (the less eco-friendly out of the two) will be phased out by the Indian Government.
The Role of Refrigerant
A function of Refrigerant (likewise called coolant) in both appliances is the same, to absorb heat and release it outside.
This cycle keeps repeating, and the Refrigerant takes a trip inside the closed system of the appliance. Let’s take Air conditioners for example.
The Role of Refrigerants in Air conditioners
Ac system takes a small batch of hot air from the space, drops the heat outside, thus reducing the temperature of that batch of air and makes it cooler. It then releases the cool air back inside the room. (Remember it transfers only the heat, not the air itself). The A/C then takes another batch of hot air from the room and repeats the process.
This transfer of heat from inside to outside the room is made possible by Refrigerant. The liquid refrigerant absorbs the heat within the room and evaporates into a gas. This gas takes a trip through the Air conditioning system, which consists of a Compressor, Condenser, Expansion valve and Evaporator.
Refrigerant is kept under high pressure in Evaporator coils in the internal unit of a split A/C or internal part of window Air Conditioner.
When the A/C is switched on, the blower fan sucks in a batch of air from the space and passed over the evaporator coils. As Refrigerants have very low boiling points (listed below 00C), the room air quickly vaporizes the liquid refrigerant into gas. After passing its heat to the Refrigerant the now ‘cool’ room air returns back into the room.
The hot gaseous Refrigerant, on the other hand, goes through Compressor and then Condenser. The Condenser coils absorb the heat from the Refrigerant and launch it into the environment.
Next, the Refrigerant is pressurized by the Expansion valve and gets converted back to its liquid state.
The liquid Refrigerant returns to its starting point, i.e. the Evaporator coils to absorb heat from the next batch of room air. And the cycle repeats.
Refrigerants are fluids that can quickly transform from liquid to gas and gas to liquid. Nevertheless, their chemical nature makes them harmful to the environment.
Ideally, Refrigerants are never in contact with the climatic air as they are kept inside the cooling system of an AC or Refrigerator.
However just like you require to re-fill air in Car tyres, Refrigerant likewise requires periodic ‘charging’. This can bring the Refrigerant in contact with outside air. Unanticipated leakages can also release the Refrigerant in the environment.
The Government of India has prepared to completely ban the use of older Refrigerants like R22 by the year 2030. So, make certain you purchase an Air Conditioning or Refrigerator that utilizes eco-friendly Refrigerants like R410a, R32 or R290 (which are likewise grievance with most current Government regulations).
This will not just conserve you future difficulties of replacing AC with banned Refrigerant; however, it can help you in saving our world.
1. Which Is The Better Refrigerant R32 Or R410A?
The short answer is yes, R32 is better than R410A, and a lot of manufacturers are quickly shifting to the R32 refrigerant, which will be used in air conditioners. So why is R32 the better refrigerant?
R32 Is the better refrigerant as:
I. It has a GWP that is 30% lower than the GWP of R410A.
II. Systems using the R32 refrigerant use 20% less refrigerant than they would with R410A. This makes the R32 refrigerant more efficient and cost-effective.
III. The ozone depletion potential of R32 is 0.
IV. Since R32 is a single component refrigerant; it is much easier to recycle than R410A.
2. What Is The Latest Refrigerant Used In Air Conditioners?
R32 is the latest refrigerant that is being used in air conditioners. Before R32, air conditioners used to use R410A, and you will still find a lot of air conditioners using the R410A refrigerant. However, in the coming years, we can expect almost all of the air conditioners to be using the R32 refrigerant, which is much more eco-friendly than R410A.
3. Is R32 Refrigerant Dangerous?
Any refrigerant gas that has been classified in the ISO 817 can be averse to health in some ways or the other if they are present in high concentrations. Therefore, it would be incorrect to say that the R32 gas used in the air conditioner would have no effect on human life. However, compared to all the other refrigerants, R32 would need to have a really high concentration to have any impact on humans.
The ISO 817 has two toxicity classes that the refrigerants can be classified into. Class A is the low toxicity group, while class B is the high toxicity group. R32 is classified as a class A refrigerant. Out of all the refrigerants that have been classified in Class A, R32 is one of the safest refrigerants as it has an acute toxicity exposure limit of 220,000 ppm.