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Important Changes Coming to Air Conditioning Refrigerants in 2025

Three refrigerant cylinders labeled R410A, R32, and R454B from left to right

The life blood of your air conditioner is refrigerant. As it circulates through your system, it transitions from a low-pressure gas to a high-pressure liquid. During this process, it absorbs heat and then releases it, contributing to cooling the air that is distributed throughout your home.


For decades, R22 was the gold standard of home air conditioning refrigerant. Developed in the 1930s, R22 is a hydrochlorofluorocarbon (HCFC) that was later discovered by scientists to be harmful to Earth’s ozone layer. In the 1980s, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and global bodies established the Montreal Protocol to eliminate the use of ozone-depleting refrigerants. Beginning in 2003, incremental restrictions on R22 were implemented to reduce production and block importation. By early 2010, the manufacture of R22-based equipment was entirely prohibited in the United States.


As R22 was phased out, R410A emerged as its replacement. Today, most home air conditioning units, including many installed since the late 90s, use R410A refrigerant. Unlike R22, R410A is a hydrofluorocarbon (HFC) and contains no chlorine, giving it an ozone-depleting potential (ODP) score of zero.

R410A excels in absorbing and dissipating heat, making it more energy efficient than R22. Its superior temperature adaptability also ensures quicker heating or cooling of your home or office.

Unfortunately, as in the case of R22, R410A’s reign as the refrigerant standard must also come to an end.

Like R22, R410A has high global warming potential (GWP). In fact, R410A’s GWP is 2,088 which is slightly higher than R22’s GWP of 1,810.

To curb the use of high-GWP refrigerants in HVAC systems, the EPA has intervened again and enacted a series of regulations through the American Innovation and Manufacturing (AIM) Act. Beginning January 1, 2025, residential and light commercial air conditioning products utilizing R410A will no longer be allowed for import into the United States.

Subsequent phases of the AIM act involve gradually eliminating R410A from existing systems, a process anticipated to unfold over the next several years.

R410A Phase Down Timeline

  • 2022 – HFC production decreased by 10%
  • 2024 – HFC production decreased by 40%
  • 2029 – HFC production decreased by 70%
  • 2034 – HFC production decreased by 80%
  • 2036 – HFC production decreased by 85%

R32 and R454B

With R410A going the way of R22, the new standard refrigerant contenders are A2L-class refrigerants R32 and R454B.

How R32 and R454B Refrigerants Compare to R410A

refrigerants chart

A2L refrigerants have very low GWP, making them significantly more eco-friendly. Estimates suggest that A2L refrigerants will achieve a 99% reduction in GWP, coupled with lower lifecycle emissions compared to HFC refrigerants.

It is important to note, however, that A2L-class refrigerants are mildly flammable. Because of this, existing HVAC systems cannot be retrofitted to use A2L refrigerants, and doing so would violate EPA regulations. Consequently, the new A2L refrigerant standards will only apply to newly manufactured systems. Older systems will be “grandfathered” in, allowing them to continue using HFC refrigerants until they require full replacement.

How Will the Phase Out of R410A Affect Me?

First, don’t panic. We’re here to help!

Second, remember that it took over a decade to phase out R22, and some “dinosaur” systems using R22 are still running today. Although importing or producing R22 in the U.S. is illegal, using it is not. This means you can continue to operate an older AC unit as long as it remains functional and leak-free. Additionally, you can still purchase R22 within the U.S. that was produced before the ban or since recovered. (But be prepared for a hefty refrigerant bill!)

The phase out of R410A will follow a similar pattern. As we get closer to the year 2036 and R410A becomes even more difficult to acquire, its cost will continue to rise. Therefore, it’s imperative to keep your current system properly maintained to avoid costly repairs that rely on old refrigerants.

New air conditioning systems using R32 and R454B are anticipated to be more expensive than R410A systems. This higher cost is primarily due to the need to redesign systems to safely handle mildly flammable refrigerants. However, as more AC systems transition to A2L refrigerants and their availability increases, prices are expected to stabilize over time.

If you have questions or concerns about the upcoming refrigerant changes and how they might affect your home’s air conditioning system, contact us today.

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