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Specifying the correct lubricant (oil) for refrigeration and air conditioning systems is important to ensure optimum system performance.
Various refrigerants use different oils. Older CFC and HCFC refrigerants tended to use Mineral Oil (MO) and Alkyl Benzene (AB) oils. Modern HFC and HFO refrigerants tend to use Polyolester (POE) oils, although some HFC blends specifically designed as "drop-in" retrofit gases for CFCs and HCFCs may have some tolerance to MO and AB oils.
A summary of most common refrigerants and their oil compatibility is detailed below.
|HCFCs||R401A/B, R402A/B, R403B, R408A/B, R409A/B||YES||YES|
|HFC||R134a||YES (REFRIG)||YES (AUTO)|
|HFCs||R404A, R407A/C/F, R410A, R507A||YES|
|HFC (HCFC Retrofit Replacements)||R417A, R422A, R422D, R424A, R427A, R428A, R434A, R437A, R438A||YES*||YES*||YES|
|Natural Refrigerant||R717 Ammonia||Dependent on system type|
|Natural Refrigerant||R744 CO2||YES||YES|
*HFC retrofit gases operate best with POE oils, however they have been designed to operate also with MO and AB oils that were commonly used with R22. If the system suffers from inadequate refrigerant return, then it may be necessary to flush the original oil and replace with POE.