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If your air conditioner is still working great and you’ve been getting your yearly inspection, why would you need a newer AC unit? Your unit can last a long time, but older units used the old freon refrigerant R22, which is now banned. Can you still use your old unit with the newer freon types, then?

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Can My Older AC Unit Be Charged With the Modern Freon That’s Available?

R22 was used frequently until 2010. In fact, it was the most used refrigerant for air conditioners, but unfortunately, it also caused a lot of ozone depletion and has therefore been phased out. Starting from 2015, R410A has been used most frequently.

The question is whether your older AC unit can make the switch.

What is Freon?

First, you should know that freon is what your air conditioner uses to keep cool. It cools the warm air in the condenser before pushing it back out into your home. Without freon, your unit won’t work.

Can I Use Modern Freon?

The answer here is yes and no. You cannot stop using R22 and switch automatically since R410A operates with different chemicals and at a higher frequency. If you put the newer freon in right away, your unit will rupture due to the force.

However, you can convert your AC unit to handle R410A. You’ll need to replace the compressor, condenser, evaporator, and likely the refrigerant tubing. If you replace all of this, your old unit will work fine with the new freon.

Should I Just Buy a New Unit?

Realistically, you should. While you might want to just keep your old unit, the cost of replacing all these parts will be much higher than just buying a newer unit that’s already designed to use R410A.

Also, modern freon has some legitimate advantages to it. It absorbs more heat than R22, which means that your whole unit operates at a lower temperature and your unit is more likely to last longer. R410A also uses synthetic oil to keep your compressor working, which combines better with the freon. This ultimately allows your AC unit to operate more efficiently and without strain on the compressor.

Your AC Unit

Ultimately, you can still gain access to R22 if you have your old AC unit and need some time to find a suitable replacement unit. Manufacturers have stopped producing R22 by this point, but you can get recycled or reclaimed R22 until 2030. The problem is that the cost has risen a lot and will continue to rise as it runs out.

It would be better for you to get a new unit if only to avoid the more expensive repairs that will accompany still using R22.


Ultimately, you could switch to modern freon and continue to use your AC unit, but you will need to modify your unit so that it can handle this change. You cannot just input freon and expect your unit to work. It might be better to pick out a newer AC unit that already uses modern freon and have a professional reinstall one in your home.