Why does this matter for homeowners?

Customers need to know about the upcoming transition from R410a to R454b refrigerants in residential HVAC systems for several reasons. Firstly, manufacturers are expecting 20% price increases in air conditioners and heat pumps. Second, new refrigerants offer a lower Global Warming Potential (GWP) making systems more environmentally friendly. Finally, new refrigerants are slightly flammable so choosing a reputable service contractor like Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration, and Heating will help ensure safe and efficient operation!

Now that we have your attention, lets back up and discuss what exactly is changing!

What is Refrigerant?

Refrigerant is a key component in residential air conditioners and heat pumps, facilitating the transfer of heat to provide cooling or heating. It cycles between a gas and liquid state, absorbing heat indoors as it evaporates and releasing it outdoors as it condenses. This process allows air conditioners to cool indoor air and heat pumps to warm it.

What is Changing?

In the world of air conditioning and refrigeration, change is inevitable. One such imminent change is the transition from R410a to R454b refrigerants, which is set to have a significant impact on residential customers. The EPA plans to ban the manufacturing of units that use of R410-A in new air conditioners and heat pumps by January 1, 2025.

Why is the Refrigerant Change Happening?

The shift from R410a to R454b is primarily driven by environmental concerns. R410a, while effective as a refrigerant, has a high Global Warming Potential (GWP), contributing to climate change. As countries around the world seek to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, transitioning to refrigerants with lower GWPs has become a priority.

Understanding the Difference in Environmental Impact

R410a has a GWP of 2,088, making it a potent greenhouse gas. On the other hand, R454b boasts a significantly lower GWP of 466, making it a more environmentally friendly alternative.

Differences in Refrigerant Characteristics

Apart from environmental considerations, the characteristics of these refrigerants also differ. R410a is non-flammable and non-toxic, making it relatively safe for residential use. In contrast, R454b is mildly flammable and requires careful handling. However, it’s important to note that R454b has been designed to meet stringent safety standards, ensuring its suitability for residential applications. New equipment using R454b will likely require sensors that detect leaks of refrigerant and shut down the unit upon leak detection to protect the customer.

Impact on Retail Customers:


Service and Maintenance: As R454b becomes more prevalent, technicians will need to undergo training to handle the new refrigerant safely. This means who you chose as your service contractor will be even more important than before. Choose a reputable service contractor who provides the necessary training to their employees.

Equipment Compatibility: Existing air conditioning equipment designed for R410a may not be compatible with R454b. Customers looking to upgrade or replace their HVAC systems may need to invest in new equipment that is compatible with the new refrigerant. However, equipment manufacturers will still be able to sell parts and supplies for R410a equipment to keep your existing system running.

Pricing: The shift to R454b may also impact pricing. Equipment manufacturers are expecting a 15-20% price increase on all equipment. While this price increase may normalize overtime, it might be prudent to consider purchasing a new unit ahead of the transition Initially, there may be a premium associated with equipment and refrigerant costs as manufacturers transition to lock in a good price especially if you have an older A/C System.

In conclusion, the transition from R410a to R454b refrigerants represents a significant shift in the HVAC industry, driven by environmental concerns and regulatory mandates. While this transition may pose challenges for residential customers, Willco Air Conditioning, Refrigeration and Heating is here to help guide customers through the transition and make sound financial decisions when it comes to the comfort of their home. Trust Willco with your comfort needs!