R134a or R600a: which refrigerant is better, more profitable, more efficient

Which refrigerant is better, R134a or R600a? What are their differences and features? Is it possible to replace freon 134 with 600 and vice versa? Is it worth paying extra for it? We will answer these and other questions in this post.

It is important to understand that r-600a and r-134a are not the only options. Refrigerators also use other gases. We have covered this topic in more detail in the article “What freon is used in refrigerators and how to determine its type”.

Features of R134a refrigerant

Freon R134a (tetrafluoroethane, HFC 134a) was created to replace the refrigerant R12. It does not contain chlorine and does not deplete the ozone layer. At the same time, it has a large global warming potential (GWP), 1430 times more than carbon dioxide.

Refrigerant R134a is non-flammable and does not pose a risk to human health. It is used in refrigerators, car air conditioners and other climatic equipment. In terms of cooling capacity, it is worse than freon R12 .

Read more information about this gas in this article: https://freons.xyz/en/r134a-refrigerant-properties/. We wrote about R-12 refrigerant in the publication: R12 freon: characteristics, properties, features.

Features of R600a refrigerant

Freon R600a (isobutane, HC 600a) is an isomer of butane. It has the same chemical formula, but a different arrangement of atoms in the molecule. It began to be used in household refrigerators and freezers later than R134a. it is also a substitute for R12.

R600a refrigerant is flammable like normal natural gas. It does not have a toxic and toxic effect on human health. Has a zero global warming potentialthe ozone depletion potential of the refrigerant is 0. We wrote more in the article about properties of freon R600a (isobutane) there: https://freons.xyz/en/refrigerant-r600a-properties/.

Molecules of butane and isobutane
On the left is an isobutane molecule, on the right is a butane molecule.

What is the difference between freon 134 and 600

Refrigerators on r134a run on synthetic polyester oil due to its aggressiveness. Installations on the r600a use mineral oil. As in the case of automotive oils, synthetics are always more expensive than mineral waters. At the same time, 600 freon can also work on synthetic.

In systems on 134 freon, more gas is required for normal operation. The cooling capacity of tetrafluoroethane is 30% lower than that of isobutane. The energy consumption of household refrigerators and freezers on r134a is 20-40% higher than on r600a.

Due to flammability, compressors for working on r600a freon have design features. They are more expensive than engines for 134 freons. Due to the low load during operation, they have a lower noise level and a longer service life.

Interesting fact

R600 a refrigerant is flammable but burns quickly. There is little of it in the refrigerator system, so the likelihood of a fire is low. In addition, the equipment for 600 freon is made so that in the event of a leak, it accumulates in those places where it cannot ignite. Therefore, freon R-290 (propane) is recommended for use in household refrigeration equipment.

Freon r134a is aggressive and demanding on the quality of the oil. High pressure is required for its operation, so the diameter of the capillary tubes is small. Because of this, they are susceptible to blockages. Thanks to this, R600a is charged instead, which is less whimsical than other refrigerant analogues R134a.

When the oil decomposes or its quality is low, 134 the refrigerant reacts with impurities and reaction results. Impurities are formed that are deposited on the walls of the system. They reduce throughput, form blockages. This may cause:

  1. Reduced performance of the refrigerator or freezer;
  2. Increased compressor wear;
  3. More noisy operation of equipment;
  4. Breakage of the freon line
  5. Refrigerator compressor failure.

According to service centers, over time, R134a freon reacts with oils and leads to their waxing. In this process, substances are released that are deposited on the walls of the freon line and the working surfaces of its nodes.

According to the experience of craftsmen and service centers, after 5-6 years, a blockage occurs in the capillary copper tubes of refrigerators using r134a refrigerant. It begins to form 2-3 years after the start of operation, but accumulates gradually.

The r600a refrigerant has a low boiling point. The operating temperatures of the systems are lower than those of similar systems on r134a. They are more sensitive to moisture. Therefore, when refueling, repairing or servicing, they must be purged with dry compressed nitrogen.

Advantages of R134a and R600a refrigerants

R134a or R600a

Freon r134a

  • Not combustible;
  • Low repair cost;
  • Fireproof.

Freon r600a

  • Little refrigerant required when topping up;
  • Compatible with cheap mineral oil;
  • Low noise level;
  • High energy efficiency
  • Low amount of refrigerant in the system.

Cons of freons R600a and R134a

Refrigerant r134a

  • Expensive synthetic oil is needed;
  • The appearance of blockages in the system;
  • Equipment on R134a consumes more electricity.

Refrigerant r600a

  • Fire hazardous;
  • Expensive repairs.

Which refrigerant is better, R134a or R600a?

As can be seen from the above, the R600a refrigerant has fewer minuses and more pluses than R134a. For use in domestic systems, it is preferable. Many are converting refrigeration equipment from R134a to R600a.

Refrigerators and freezers on R600a:

  • Quieter work:
  • Less likely to fail
  • Consume less electricity.

Interesting fact

In the US, it is illegal to manufacture and sell 600 refrigerant refrigerators and freezers. The official reason is its flammability. In reality, this is lobbied by R134a freon manufacturers, who artificially inflate the price for it.

Is it possible to change freon 134 to 600?

Yes, replacing r134a with r600a is possible. With the right approach, the energy consumption of the refrigerator will decrease, it will run quieter and cool better. For this you need:

  1. Replace compressor;
  2. Replace the capillary tube, selecting the desired diameter;
  3. Purge the system with nitrogen to remove moisture and blockages;
  4. Replace filter;
  5. Check the oil for cleanliness and compatibility with isobutane, if necessary, replace it.

Some masters charge 600 freon instead of 134 without replacing the compressor. This will make your refrigerator or freezer work better. But after a while the compressor fails. But sometimes (rarely) a compressor for 134 freon runs on 600 refrigerant for a long time.

There is a folk way to increase the performance of refrigeration equipment on R134a. 5-7% R600a refrigerant can be added to the system. But this is the elimination of the consequences, not the causes of the malfunction.

Is it possible to replace 600 redrigerant with 134?

Yes, 600 freon can be replaced with 134. This is not practical in the long run. But if such a need arose, it is necessary:

  1. Replace compressor;
  2. Replace the capillary tube with a different diameter;
  3. Flush the system from old oil;
  4. Fill the system with new synthetic compressor oil;
  5. Replace filter.

The problem of replacing r600a with r134a is oil. 600 refrigerant runs on mineral, 134 freon runs on synthetic polyolester (POE) oil. When replacing, it is necessary to thoroughly wash the entire system of oil with R141b flushing freon. To be sure, you can purge it with nitrogen.

When r134a comes into contact with mineral oils, a violent reaction occurs. In this case, the mixture foams, a precipitate may fall out. It clogs the capillaries, which leads to poor operation of equipment, line breaks and compressor failure.

In this article, we figured out which refrigerant is better: r134a or r600a. The properties and characteristics of both gases were evaluated. We came to the conclusion that 600 freon is better than 134. We hope the publication was useful to you. Don’t forget to save it to your wall, share it with colleagues and friends!

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