R410a vs R32 – A Comparative Study of Features & Benefits

When purchasing a new air conditioner, you’ll need to get a refrigerant too. As you may know, a refrigerant is a cooling agent used in AC units and other similar devices. Choosing between two different refrigerants isn’t so easy.

While comparing R410a vs R32, you’ll discover that they are both eco-friendly and have an ozone depletion potential of zero, making them perfect refrigerant choices. But, you’ll need to dig in to find out their differences to know which one is best.  R410a vs R32 cost dissection is also very important in making you stick to your budget. Keep reading to discover all that R410a and R32 share and differ in.

What is R410a?

R410a

R140a, otherwise called Suva 410a, AZ20, Forane 410a, or Puron, is a compound (zeotropic) made up of pentafluoroethane and difluoromethane, used as a refrigerant in ACs and heat pump systems.

R410a is part of the hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) class of refrigerants and is composed of an equal amount of R125 and R32. Its chemical formula is CH₂F₂ + CHF₂CF₃ and its cylinders are colored rose.

R410a was discovered by Honeywell and was granted a patent in 1991. It is the most used refrigerant in home and commercial ACs in the US, Japan, Canada, and Europe. It was introduced to replace R22 which was banned because of its contribution to greenhouse gases.

Most modern air conditioners function well with R410a refrigerant, which allows the systems to operate at higher pressures. For HVAC professionals to work with R410a, they’ll need specialized tools and equipment such as fittings and adapters, for vacuum pumps. You can go ahead to compare R410a vs. R32 performance to know which works best.

Product Features:

  • Replacement for R131b and R22
  • R410a is a near azeotropic refrigerant blend that contains R32 and R125
  • Highly-rated safety classification
  • Its cylinders have dual port valves, making it easy for liquid to take off
  • Non-flammable
  • Higher efficiency compared to R22
  • Compressors must be charged with Polyolester oils

Pros:

  • R410a has a good thermal performance.
  • Its surface condition is always dry.
  • R410a is relatively safe to store, use and distribute
  • R410a has higher efficiency compared to other refrigerants.

Cons:

  • R410a has a fairly high amount of global warming potential.

What Is R32?

R32

R32 referred to as HFC32 methylene fluoride, difluoromethylene, or dichloromethane, is an organic compound composed of the halogenoalkane variety. Its formula is CH2F2.

This refrigerant is a colorless gas in the ambient atmosphere and is slightly soluble in water, with high thermal stability. The Clean Air Act Section 111 on Volatile Organic Compounds in the United States listed R32 as an exception due to its low production of tropospheric ozone. Difluoromethylene is mostly used in endothermic processes such as air conditioning and refrigeration.

Product Features:

  • Replacement for 410a
  • R32 cylinders have dual port valves for easy offtake of liquid
  • Similar boiling temperature to R140a
  • The refrigerant can be charged from either the vapor or liquid phase
  • Slightly flammable and non-toxic
  • Low global warming potential
  • Better energy efficiency compared to R410a
  • Requires varied recovery and charging procedures

Pros:

  • Zero ozone depletion potential (ODP)
  • R32 refrigerant has a volumetric capacity of 20% and requires less charging
  • Higher critical temperature
  • Single gas component
  • Low global warming potential compared to R410a
  • Easy development because of saturated pressure
  • Low density

Cons:

  • R32 requires precaution because of the high level of toxicity
  • Oil degradation in the compressor is caused by high discharge temperature.

R410a vs R32: What Are the Differences

Currently, the refrigerant gas used in home ACs to replace R22, are R32 and R410a refrigerants. Here are the differences between the two refrigerants:

Environmental protection

The ozone depletion potential (ODP) of R32 is zero, and its global warming potential (GWP) is on average. R32 refrigerants can easily explode, but R32 does not destroy the ozone layer. Its atmospheric retention time is 5.6 years, while the relative injection amount is lower.

Safety

Both R410a and R32 are non-flammable and non-toxic. However, R32 has a low limit of combustion. On the other hand, R410a has a high temperature and is capable of burning. Here’s why  R410a vs R32 flammable comparison is important.

Therefore, it is advisable to only charge ACs within 2p.

Thermal properties

The system working pressure of R32 is higher than R410a, but the highest increase is 2.6% at most. When the temperature is exhausted, R32 increases to 35.3° C, higher than R410a.

Cyclic performance

Concerning theoretical cycle performance, the system cooling capacity of R32 is 12.6% higher than R410a. Also, the power consumption, energy efficiency ratio, and comprehensive energy-saving capacity of R32 are higher than R410a. Comparing R410a vs R32 electricity consumption is a hack to discovering more differences between these refrigerants.

FAQs:

Q: Can I replace R410a with R32?

R32 is not the best replacement for R410a and can’t be used in applications specifically designed for R410a. Besides, R410a systems are not configured to operate using a refrigerant that is capable of causing fire outbreaks. Also, R410a systems require modification and laboratory validation to confirm whether the safety level has increased to a level that meets all the international standard requirements for applications that use R32.

However, if you want to replace R410a with R32, you’ll need to carry out some modifications to ensure that the product is in line with all applicable codes and standards.

Q: Is R32 more energy efficient than R410A?

Refrigerants carry heat. In-home ACs, the refrigerant is circulated between the indoor unit and the outdoor unit, thereby allowing warm air or cool air to be released into your home.

One of the most used refrigerants, especially in developing countries, is R410a. This refrigerant is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC), and it contributes to global warming. Therefore, there’s a need to move across the world to transition to R32 as it is more efficient. Additionally, R32 is less harmful to the environment, cost-effective, and safe. Going in-depth about their features is the way to declare the R410a vs R32 efficiency result and favor one to be the winner.

Q: Is R32 gas banned?

Although R32 refrigerant has been used by top air conditioning manufacturers in recent years, it may go extinct in the future. Most maintenance and installation personnel don’t like using R32 during the installation process. The reason for the R32 refrigerant phase-out is due to the frequent occurrence of R32 explosions.

The future fate of R32 refrigerant (whether or not it’ll be banned) is unpredictable. However, reports show that R32 refrigerants may be banned by the European Union in 2025.

Q: Is R410A the same as R32?

R410a and R32 are not the same. They don’t perform the same function. Even though they have similar features, they each have unique systems where they are used. Some air conditioning systems use only R410a, while others use R32. Nevertheless, both R410a and R32 are eco-friendly compared to the harmful chlorofluorocarbon compounds used in the 20th century.

However, it’s possible to change the properties of a particular air conditioner that uses R140a to allow it to function well with R32.

Q: Which is more flammable R32 or R410A?

The chemical composition of R32 is highly toxic, slightly flammable, and has a safety level of A2L. R32 has the possibility of exploding. Its explosion limit is between 14.4% to 29.3%. Hence, it’s necessary to fix the problem of lower flammability in-home air conditioners.

Additionally, even though R32 is flammable, it has a condition for combustion. It needs a little concentration to reach a particular value, and it has to come into contact with an open flame before it can explode. So, if the R32 refrigerant is slightly leaking, it’ll be difficult to burn, but if the leakage is too much, it’ll explode.

Q: Is R410 being phased out?

R410a is set for elimination from all new systems in 2023. Some of the reasons for the phasing out of R410a are:

  • Proliferation management of refrigerant options is needed
  • The need to comply with transportation and storage requirements of the refrigerant
  • The equipment manufactured for A2L refrigerants will most likely have new embedded controls and sensors.

In addition, the R410a is beginning to cause more harm than good. It’s affecting the environment and those who live in it. R410a deserves to be phased out. More so, comparing R410a vs R22 will help you discover more reasons why R410a should no longer be in use.

Final Words

Before opting for any refrigerant, compare them, weigh their differences, and go for the one with more advantages. If you discover that your air conditioner functions well with R410a, but you purchased R32, check out ways to convert your AC system. Or better still, get the designated refrigerant for your car.

We’ve already compiled everything you need to know about R410a vs R32. From all indications, R32 seems to be more eco-friendly and suitable for home air conditioners. You can confirm by drawing a comparison table for R410a vs R32 vs R22.

While searching for the best refrigerant for your AC, kindly note that low refrigerant can cause your AC not to blow cold air.

Osuagwu Solomon

Osuagwu Solomon is a seasoned automotive technician for the past 9 years, and a technical writer. He loves writing about auto professional repair guides, DIY repair guides, and buyer’s guide. After spending six years in the automotive workshop, he decided to impact his knowledge to people aside his domain, and he has achieved this by centering his Automotive writing skills on REPAIRS.

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