What's an Air Conditioning Dry Charge?
Over the past 10 years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have mandated that all manufacturers of air conditioning equipment halt production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been typically used in air conditioners and heat pumps for the last several decades. The R-22 and HCFC mandates are expected to have the HVAC industry move to a more green friendly refrigerant with a technical code R410A. R410A has been verified to be safer for the environment.
In late 2010 the majority of air conditioning firms began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. These systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. The units can legally be sold and installed allowing the HVAC contractor to charge the unit in the field with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service for a few more years. The purpose of these Dry Charged Units is to offer the greater Longmont area a more simple and relatively inexpensive replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also dodge the spirit of the mandates, which was intended to better protect our environment by moving the air conditioning industry to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant.
Longmont homeowners should understand that these Dry Charged Units are permitted in the U.S. and Canada. Because of the lack of clarity regarding the definition of an outdoor unit in the rules, the entire outdoor unit is technically deemed a replacement “part”. Today, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are now referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. The following are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.
Does it make sense to buy a Dry Charge Air Conditioning Unit?
Well, it really depends on a number of things. The best thing to do is learn what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry can offer and seek solutions to address your personal comfort, efficiency and lifestyle needs. Take time to understand the benefits and difference between a dry charge unit and new air conditioning products with R-410A refrigerant.
Reasons to buy an R-410A refrigerant system
Current R-410A systems offer benefits to Longmont homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A sample of the benefits include:
- Greater energy efficiency for affordable in-home comfort
- State-of-the-art technology to lessen humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions allowing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Extended warranty periods for more peace of mind
- Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
- Ozone friendly refrigerant for lower impact on the environment
- Matched coil solutions for enhanced reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance
Are Dry Charge units legal?
Absolutely. There are no Federal laws or legal restriction on the installation of R-22 or Dry Charge Equipment, with the stipulation that it is repairing an existing air conditioning system.
Does a warranty come with a Dry Charge Unit?
The majority of manufacturers have a standard 5-year parts warranty on dry charge units. While this affords industry standard protection on the components it does not provide protection against R-22 refrigerant prices, which are expected to increase significantly.
Will the R-22 refrigerant be expensive to buy?
It is likely that as a result of supply and demand, the refrigerant will probably go up in price. As the phase out process of R22 continues, new R-22 refrigerant production will gradually be reduced, with full elimination of its production in 2020. Until that date, indications are that there will likely be sufficient supply to meet the current demand.
If you have more questions about refrigerant, we encourage you to contact Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for clarification.