As of January 1, 2010, newly manufactured air conditioners cannot contain R-22 refrigerant. Instead, they must contain alternatives such as R-410A, also called Puron by some manufacturers.
The reason or this is that R-22 is considered an HCFC that is harmful to the environment. When R-22 leaks and gets into the atmosphere, it can cause damage to the ozone layer that protects us from the sun’s rays.
Homeowners who have an air conditioner containing R-22 are not required to get rid of it, but should make sure that it is properly maintained to avoid leaks and cracks in the system. Supplies of R-22 are limited, though, and will continue to decline as the phase out moves forward. This will lead to an increase in the price of R-22 refrigerant.
R-22 units manufactured before January 1, 2010, however, may still be sold by dealers with these units left in stock. Consumers should avoid purchasing R-22 units because the price to replace the refrigerant will exceed the price to replace R-410A refrigerant as production is drawn back. It may even be difficult to find R-22 refrigerant after a certain point.
To determine if your current system uses R-22 or R-410A, check to see if there is a plate on the unit identifying the type of refrigerant. If not, call the manufacturer or check their website. If this produces no answers, try calling the dealer who sold you the unit.