What's the Difference Between Puron vs. Freon?

Technician checking a Freon tank - Thomas & Galbraith Heating, Cooling, & Plumbing

In Cincinnati, Ohio, homeowners wonder about Puron vs. Freon for the HVAC systems. Though these two refrigerants seem the same, they are actually much more different than one might think. Luckily, Thomas & Galbraith knows the differences between these two refrigerants and wants to share that information with homeowners like you!

 

Additionally, our trained technicians have a plethora of information on Puron and Freon alternatives. The type of HVAC system you have determines which kind of refrigerant you can purchase. However, there are enough alternatives that work with Puron and Freon systems that you can effectively choose an alternative that works for you.

 

Refrigerants: What Do They Do?

Many homeowners are unsure of what refrigerant does for the HVAC system. Because of that, they have a hard time deciding which refrigerant to go with, Puron vs. Freon. Refrigerant cools air during the summer with an air conditioning unit. It takes the heat from inside your home, then transfers it outside. In the winter, refrigerant takes heat from outside and puts it into your home. It does this through pressurizing the refrigerant into a gas that moves freely indoor and outdoor components.

 

Refrigerant comes from several chemicals mixed together in a compound. These chemical compounds are called blends. They start as a liquid, then turn to gas. This process repeats several times for the refrigerant to consistently do its job. These mixtures used to be incredibly flammable and toxic, but today they are far safer. Still, they should not be handled by homeowners.

 

Freon and Puron are the two chemical compounds that replaced those earlier refrigerants. Though most people know refrigerants are used mostly in HVAC systems, they are key components of other appliances as well. Refrigerants are used in freezers, refrigerators, and vehicles. Because refrigerants appear in so many appliances, homeowners think they have a handle on refilling or repairing leaks. However, refrigerant issues should only be handled by trained professionals.

 

Puron vs. Freon: The Basics

Because Puron vs. Freon comes up so often when discussing the best refrigerant, it would be foolish to skim over their uses. Homeowners need to know about these refrigerants, even if they are fast becoming obsolete. Both of these blends cause environmental concerns, but Puron does have an edge over Freon. Let’s look at the differences between the two.

 

Freon

For a large chunk of time, Freon took the place as the standard refrigerant. Known as R22, Freon improved upon earlier refrigerants—called R12—by being greener in general. R12 ruled as the industry standard until it proved to significantly deplete the ozone. That’s when Freon entered the market. It began production in the mid-90s and quickly dominated the market.

 

In 2010, that changed when the Clean Air Act mandated that production of R22 must cease by 2020. Even though R22 proves less harmful than R12, it still negatively impacts the environment because of the greenhouse gases it lets off.

 

Many HVAC systems still use Freon as their refrigerant, but it will stop being produced completely in 2020. Because of this, homeowners with older systems will have to switch over to newer systems that don’t use Freon. However, there are still some important things to know about Freon. 

 

  • Environmental impact. Firstly, Freon damages the ozone layer. This means that it contributes to the global climate changes sweeping the world. Even though the effects are less harsh than R12, they still cause enough of an impact to permanently damage the environment.
  • Out of production. Because of its negative impact on the environment, the EPA has mandated that it stop production entirely by the year 2020. This means that companies will not be able to produce Freon after this time. 
  • Higher in price. Further, the lack of production means that supplies of Freon will drop dramatically. Freon already lacks numbers, but it will only deplete further. Because of this, prices of Freon have grown in the past few years. After 2020, these prices will only continue to rise.

Puron

Puron became the EPA approved alternative to Freon shortly after the Clean Air Act in 2010. Puron vs. Freon, then, seems to be an obsolete argument. Still, many devices still use Freon, so Freon hasn’t lost all relevancy yet. 

 

Known as R-410A, Puron provides HVAC systems with a refrigerant that is better for the environment. It does not deplete the ozone, which makes it the best option according to the EPA. Here are some details about Puron.

  • More energy efficient. In general, Puron systems are more energy efficient than Freon systems. This energy efficiency not only proves good for the environment, it also means homeowners pay less in utility bills.
  • More environmentally friendly. The main draw of Puron is that it is more environmentally friendly than Freon. As stated, Puron does not deplete the ozone. That makes it the clear winner when discussing Puron vs. Freon.
  • Lower costs. Because it’s the new industry standard, Puron’s production are plentiful. Supplies of Puron overshadow that of Freon, which means it costs far less. 

 

After 2020, the Puron vs. Freon debate ends. Freon’s expiration date means that Puron will become the new standard for refrigerants. However, that doesn’t mean Puron has no issues.

 

Though Puron does a better job at protecting the environment than Freon, it still has its problems. It may not deplete the ozone, but it has a high global warning potential. Plus, it still is not 100% safe for people to handle. Here’s some information on how to handle Puron safety.

 

  • Refrigerant leaks. All refrigerant leaks must be taken care of within 30 days. No refrigerant leaks should be handled by homeowners. To fix refrigerant leaks, immediately call a professional HVAC specialist.
  • Venting intentionally. When connecting, disconnecting, or purging your HVAC system, make sure to have a low-loss fitting attached to the system to prevent refrigerant loss. Large losses of refrigerant intentionally are strictly prohibited. 
  • Appliance disposal. The EPA has specific guidelines for homeowners to dispose of their Puron appliances. Be sure to follow their instructions exactly to properly dispose of equipment that uses refrigerant.

 

Puron vs. Freon: Popular Alternatives

After that information, the Puron vs. Freon argument seems over. However, Freon systems are still in service. The systems themselves likely still work, but Freon will no longer be an option. That’s where alternatives come in. For those with Puron systems, don’t worry. There are plenty of alternatives for Puron too—especially since it’s likely to phase out next.

 

 

  • MO99. With only three Freon replacements, homeowners actually have a pretty good selection of alternatives. Because Freon has already reached its end, replacements for it are few and far between. However, MO99 remains a solid choice as a Freon replacement. It comes closest to Freon and works with most Freon appliances.
  • R427A. R427A comes in second for R22 replacements. It’s more simplified than other options, so it can retrofit to many kinds of appliances. Also, this refrigerant has the lowest global warning potential which makes it a top choice for homeowners.
  • R-421A. The last Freon replacement on this list is called R-421A. As the only non-flammable Freon replacement, this refrigerant has almost identical pressure to Freon. This makes it ideal for Freon replacement. 
  • Solstice N41. According to refrigerant company Honeywell, Solstice N41, also known as R466A, will be the first non-flammable alternative to Puron. 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. For really old systems, R-134A replaces R12 in many home appliances. Of course, R12 has been obsolete since the mid-90s, but some systems are still hanging around. This replacement does not deplete the ozone and has lower global warming potential than Puron. 
  • HFC-32. Also known as R-32, this new refrigerant has been approved by the EPA as a viable R-410A replacement. Its global warming potential falls below Puron and it costs less. Sounds like a pretty good deal!
  • R-454B. By 2023, R-454B, or XL41, will become the industry standard. Because the Puron vs. Freon debate will soon become nonexistent, there needs to be a new refrigerant to power HVAC systems and other home appliances. R-454B will likely become that refrigerant.

 

To homeowners, Puron vs. Freon doesn’t have to be the only option. The alternatives listed above are often greener and more cost efficient than the two industry standards. In fact, Puron and Freon are both likely to leave the market entirely by 2023! When that happens, you’ll need a viable alternative for systems that used those refrigerants. With these alternatives, you should be able to find the refrigerant that’s right for you! 

Contact Us About Puron vs. Freon

Homeowners who wondered about the Puron vs. Freon debate no longer have to worry about this crucial refrigerant decision. With all the information provided in this blog post, homeowners across Cincinnati, Ohio can confidently make a decision between Puron, Freon, or an alternative. Luckily, there are many options to choose from, so everyone can find a refrigerant that suits their needs.

Thomas & Galbraith helps homeowners like you with all their plumbing, heating, and cooling needs. Our trained HVAC technicians are standing by to offer repairs and replacements whenever you need them. For more information on our services, visit our website or give us a call. We offer free estimates on service visits and we can schedule your appointment on the phone.

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