Alternative Refrigerants

Air conditioning and refrigeration systems consume energy, so more efficient systems result in less carbon dioxide production, which does less harm to the environment. Since refrigerants can greatly influence energy efficiency, the industry has carefully investigated many replacements for HCFC refrigerants, such as R-22, to identify the most efficient alternative.

Potential HCFC replacements were evaluated on long-term viability and safety. Leading replacements include R-410A for air conditioning applications (R-22 air conditioners cannot be retrofitted to use R-410A), and R-404A and R-507 for refrigeration applications. All of these are HFCs, which means that they have no ozone depletion potential. They also are energy efficient and nonflammable.

Evaluating alternatives for ozone-depleting substances, the EPA offers the Significant New Alternatives Policy (SNAP) Program as a guide for refrigerant solutions. Several new alternatives are already on the market. The SNAP web site contains the latest list of acceptable substitutes by end-use.