As the HVAC industry changes, it looks at ways of introducing newer types of refrigerant, or Freon, as many know it, to take the place of older types which have a chemical makeup that is high in chlorines.
Presently, R-410A has been adopted by manufacturers as a substitute for R-22, which the industry has used for decades for home and light commercial air conditioning. Although the manufacturers have had to alter some of their design practices to accommodate the new refrigerant, it has overall been a successful transition.
Here comes the issue; as R-22 is being phased out, the cost has multiplied over the last few years. Many sellers, mostly internet based, are now offering cheap alternatives that supposedly do not require altering the system as you would if you transitioned to R-410A. A common product gaining popularity is “22A”, which the United States EPA is warning homeowners and service providers against. This product lists “Alkane” as the active ingredient on its MSDA sheets. Alkane, by definition, is a group of hydro carbon gases including methane, propane, ethane, and butane. All these materials are highly flammable and when used in a sealed air conditioning system where high rates of compression are utilized, can be extremely dangerous.
Secondary concerns are compatibility issues in conventional systems, as the properties of refrigerants differ greatly and may cause irreversible damage to your system.
Other common names of 22A which should also be avoided are R-22a, 22-A, R-290, HC-22A, CARE 40, EF-22a, and ES-22A. There are many names being used since each company bottling up and selling the product tends to place their own name and label on it. To be on the safe side, consult a trusted and licensed HVAC professional on using the correct product for your system.