When it comes to changing out the air conditioning condenser with a non matching r410a, many home owners have questions that they are not finding the correct answer too. At the top of that list is, will it work? The answer is an undeniable and indisputable yes. Though you may hear several opinions to the contrary, we know from experience that it will cool equally as well as the old unit. When tuned properly, it will produce at least as cold of air as the R22 counter part being replaced.
The 410a evap coil has about a 30% larger surface area than it’s R22 counter part. Does that make it 30% less efficient when paired with a 410a condenser? We don’t think so but we are pretty sure that you are not getting the full 14 SEER value by installing only the condenser. Customers did report that month over month and year over year that they saved $30 to $50 over there old condenser while others said it reflected no electrical use savings at all.
Our first 410a condenser install that was paired with an r22 coil was done in June of 2011. It runs on about the same amps today as it did the day we installed it. The customer who has owned the home since new says it works as well as the old one did. There is no reason to believe that the 410a condenser only install will have more problems, be less effective at cooling or will not last as long with or with out a matched coil.
Based on a 7 year history of this practice and 2 dozen plus warehouse test mutts, we know conclusively that there is no more risk of cross contamination from R22 to the new 410a with a condenser only change out than if you were changing the evap coil too.
It is widely practiced by every c21 HVAC contractor here in Las Vegas to remove the evaporative coil and leave behind the existing cooper line-set. When the designers of the new 410a system engineered these systems, they knew that the cooper lines would be reused. They must also have had some reasonable assumption that some r22 and 410a oils, POE and Mineral, could and even would mix. The systems were built with tolerances for this.
Oxygen and moisture contamination is the biggest killer of 410a compressors that we see today. The old R22 compressors were not so picky. A tech could do a piss poor job of installing the R22 condenser and the unit would last for 10 years or more. With 410a units, the installers must have there process dialed in tight. No more sweep charging or fast flush. Each system must be vacuumed down to under 900 microns. The Las Vegas dry climent makes this take about 20 minutes on most system.
Using R11 or other line cleaners
We have tested with and with out line set cleaners and we have no conclusive reason that makes this a required practice. At present we have more compressor failures where cleaners were used than those without. Using high pressure nitrogen to blow out the lines has proven most effective.
What happens when 410a mixes with R22
To be clear we clear the lines completely of all R22 and oils before we install a condenser. It is part of the protocal and has been for more than 5 years. we do it the same way everytime. For that reason we have no compressor fails do to contamination.
With that said, we still get the question about cross contamination of refrigerants all the time. The real answer is, we can not say for sure what the long term effects are. There have been a few experiments where we set out to make a unit fail as a test. We deliberately added r22 to a 410a system that was cooling our warehouse. That was 3 years ago and every morning for 3 years, I go in, turn on the lights and feel the cold air hit me as I close the door behind me.
There was also unit that we found having a mix of R22 and 410a as the result of another companies mistake. Though that AC did not work well it did work. You can read the detail of the cross contamination saga on the article we posted.
When we do a Condenser only install we clear all the oils and and r22 from the lines. We then put the system under a vacuum and remove any remaining particles or moisture from the system. When we are done we are so sure that the system will work and work well that we offer a labor warranty 3 times longer than most companies offer on full system splits.
Home Warranties and condenser only installations
If you have a 410a condenser installed on your home and you have a home warranty it is unlikely that they will make any further repairs to your system. On the other hand, If you are looking at installing a new condenser, they may have already given you the boot. If you purchase a new condenser for your home you can rest assured that the manufactures 5 to 10 year parts warranty and Fast Affordable Air’s 1 to 3 year labor warranty has you covered.