Which Is the Greenest AC Refrigerant?

Refrigerants are chemicals that make air conditioners what they are. These substances absorb and help transfer heat to the outside, rendering indoor air much cooler. While they enable you to enjoy comfort whenever you like, sadly they’ve been damaging the environment ever since they were developed.

Fortunately, there are greener refrigerants now available. It’s your job to pick the most eco-friendly option to avoid improving your home’s indoor climate at the expense of the environment. Below are the most popular refrigerants used in HVAC systems.


This coolant was used for decades until it was labeled as an ozone-depleting substance. It’s one of the chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) that harm the planet’s atmospheric ozone, which serves as a natural shield against the sun’s ultraviolet radiation.

CFCs like R-12 played a disturbing role in climate change. These chemicals contributed to the greenhouse effect, which traps some of the infrared radiation (heat) emitted by the earth’s surface. In 1994, the production of new supplies of R-12 ceased.


This substance belongs to the class of refrigerants that dethroned CFCs, called hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). Like R-12, R-22 also contains chlorine, which destroys ozone molecules upon reaching the atmosphere.

Thanks to the Clean Air Act of 2010, the United States began phasing out R-22 and other HCFC refrigerants nearly 10 years ago. After 2020, the maintenance of air conditioners using R-22 will be dependent on recycled or stockpiled supplies of the chemical. By 2030, the production and importation of any remaining HCFCs will became illegal in America.


This hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) blend is being marketed as the ozone-friendly alternative to R-22, which is true because it has no chlorine. Compared to its predecessors, R-410A allows an air conditioner to operate more efficiently, more reliably and much more safely for the environment.

However, R-410A is a greenhouse gas like the others, so it still contributes to climate change. Nevertheless, R-410A remains the greenest AC refrigerant available on the market, and it’s better to adopt this refrigerant than other alternatives that are more environmentally destructive.

Upgrade Your HVAC System in Orange County Now

If you have an old HVAC system, talk to McMaster about upgrading to a more eco-friendly piece of equipment. Call us at (949) 481-7995 today to get a free replacement estimate.

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