What's an Air Conditioning Dry Charge?

April 01, 2015

Over the past decade, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have mandated that all producers of air conditioning equipment phase out 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 recommended phase-out mandates are anticipated to have the HVAC industry move to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant with a technical label R410A. R410A has been shown to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 reputable air conditioning manufacturers 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 short time longer. The purpose of these Dry Charged Units is to provide the greater San Antonio area a more simple and relatively inexpensive replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also circumvent the spirit of the mandates, which was to help the environment by introducing more environment friendly solutions.

San Antonio homeowners should know that these Dry Charged Units are permitted in the U.S. and Canada. Because of some key ambiguities in the written policies, the entire outdoor unit is technically looked upon as a replacement “part”. Today, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are usually referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. The following are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.

Do you recommend purchasing a Dry Charge Air Conditioning System?

The answer to this question hinges on a number of things. The most important thing to do is determine what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry can offer and seek solutions to meet 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.

Top reasons for buying an R-410A system

Current R-410A systems provide benefits to San Antonio homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:

  • Increased energy efficiency for affordable in-home comfort
  • State-of-the-art technology to lower humidity
  • Current production refrigerant solutions allowing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
  • Expanded warranty periods for significant peace of mind
  • Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
  • Ozone friendly refrigerant that protects the environment
  • Matched coil solutions for increased reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance

Are Dry Change Air Conditioning Unit legal to install?

Definitely. 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?

Major manufacturers honor a standard 5-year parts warranty on dry charge units. While this offers industry standard protection on the components it does not provide protection against R-22 refrigerant prices, which are expected to increase substantially.

Will the R-22 refrigerant be expensive to buy?

It is likely that as a result of supply and demand, R-22 refrigerant will become more expensive. As the phase out process of R22 continues, new R-22 refrigerant production will slowly 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 Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air, A Service Experts Company for clarification.

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