R22 and 410A are refrigerants commonly used in air conditioning and heat pump systems. The primary reason why R22 equipment cannot work with 410A equipment is due to the differences in operating pressures and lubricant compatibility.
Operating Pressures: R22 and 410A have different pressure characteristics. R22 operates at lower pressures compared to 410A. The design and components of equipment that use R22 are not optimized for the higher pressures associated with 410A. If you were to introduce 410A refrigerant into
an R22 system, it would likely lead to excessive stress on the components, potentially causing leaks, damage, or even a catastrophic failure.Lubricant Compatibility: Another significant factor is the difference in lubricating oil used in the compressors. R22 systems use mineral oil as a lubricant, while 410A systems require a synthetic oil known as polyolester (POE) oil. These oils have different properties and are not compatible with each other. Mixing the wrong oil with the refrigerant can cause poor lubrication, reduced system efficiency, and compressor damage.
Given these differences, it is crucial to use the appropriate refrigerant and equipment designed specifically for each refrigerant type. If you need to upgrade from R22 to 410A, it typically involves replacing the entire system, including the compressor, coils, refrigerant lines, and sometimes even the electrical components. Retrofitting R22 equipment to work with 410A is generally not recommended or feasible due to the compatibility issues mentioned above.