You might have heard about filling up gas during the servicing of your Air Conditioner.

Well, this gas is nothing but a refrigerant filled in the condenser coils without which the freezing system of an AC, Refrigerator or deep freezer cannot work.

There are different refrigerants used in an Air conditioner such as R32, R410A, R22 and R290.

What is an AC Refrigerant?

To make the air conditioning possible, the refrigerants in the AC are used in gas/liquid/fluid form.

The refrigerants are contained within the copper coils of the AC, then absorbs the heat inside the room and emits hot air out into the environment.

Air Conditioner Refrigerants Compared

In this process of absorbing the heat, a refrigerant undergoes state changes from liquid to gas. When the compressor compresses, it returns back to liquid.

This cycle repeats.

What are the Different Types of AC Refrigerants?

There are many different refrigerants used in the air conditioners over the years. But, below are the most common types of refrigerants and their effect on global warming.

1. CFCs (Chlorofluorocarbons)

CFCs are one of the main reasons for greenhouse gas effect and ozone layer depletion. R12 was the most common CFC, which was banned in the year 1994 and was replaced with HCFCs.

2. HCFCs (Hydrochlorofluorocarbons)

Over 50 to 60% of the air conditioners in India are using the R22, which is the most common HCFC.

Although, R22 is slightly better than R12 (CFCs), it is still harmful to the environment and has an effect on the ozone layer depletion. Hence, the Indian Government has planned to phase out HCFCs from India by 2030.

So, next time, if you see R22 mentioned on any Air conditioner while buying, then do not buy that product.

3. HFCs (Hydrofluorocarbons)

The HFC refrigerants are created to remove the chlorine from the refrigerant.

HFCs like R-410A, R-32 and R-134 refrigerants are better than HCFCs and has no effect on the ozone layer. However, they have the potential for global warming.

In the coming years, Indian Govt has planned to phase out HFC refrigerants as well.

4. HC (Hydrocarbons)

At the moment, Hydrocarbon refrigerants like R-290 (Propane) and R-600A (Iso-Butane) are the most environment-friendly refrigerants that are available for the Air conditioners in India.

Both have ‘0’ impact on the ozone layer as the Global warming potential of both is 3.

Most of the top refrigerators in India are already incorporating the R-600A refrigerant without any reports of accidents.

They are energy efficient and are the greenest refrigerants available in India right now.

RefrigerantOzone Depletion PotentialGlobal Warming Potential
R 32Nil675
R 410 ANil2088
R 22Medium1810
R 134 ANil1430
R 290Nil3
R 600 ANil3

Is It Possible to Upgrade the Old Refrigerants with New Ones?

Well, upgrading to an R-22 refrigerant is not possible but upgrading an R-410A refrigerant is ok.

You can find out what refrigerant is used in your Air conditioner by looking at the exterior component of your AC. It is mentioned clearly there.

Although, it is possible to upgrade an R-410A refrigerant, it is not possible for all the ACs. It should meet a set criteria like the basic amount of carbon at the time of manufacturing etc…

Only Daikin has claimed to replace R410-A refrigerant in an Air conditioner so far. But, it is only available in Japan and may soon be available in India.

So, as of now, you cannot upgrade the refrigerants of an AC in India.


Most of us use an Air conditioner to cool our indoors but we should also take care of our environment. Next time, when you purchase a new AC, make sure that it is using the environment-friendly refrigerants like the R-290.

It will not only help the environment but also saves you on your electricity bill as they are less power intensive. What you say?