What’s an Air Conditioning Dry Charge?

Over the past decade, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have instructed that all manufacturers of air conditioning equipment halt production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been standardly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for many decades. These mandates are intended to have the HVAC industry turn to a more earth friendly refrigerant with a technical label R410A. R410A has been proven to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 reputable air conditioning companies began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. Such systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. These A/C units can legally be sold and installed which permits your the U.S. area HVAC contractor to charge the unit on-site with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service a while longer. The intent for these Dry Charged Units is to offer the greater the U.S. area a more simple and cost effective replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also circumvent 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.

the U.S. homeowners should understand that these Dry Charged Units are approved 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”. These days, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are now referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.

Should I buy a “Dry Charge” A/C system?

Well, it really depends on a number of things. The most important 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.

Top reasons for buying an R-410A system

Current R-410A systems provide benefits to the U.S. homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A sample of the benefits include:

    • Improved energy efficiency for affordable in-home comfort
    • State-of-the-art technology to lower humidity
    • Current production refrigerant solutions ensuring longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
    • Extended warranty periods for significant peace of mind
    • Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
    • Ozone friendly refrigerant that reduces the carbon imprint that negatively impacts our environment
    • Matched coil solutions for improved reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance

Are Dry Charge units legal?

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.

What about the warranty?

Most 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 answer to this question is “yes – we do anticipate R-22 refrigerant to get pricey”. 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 Service Experts Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing for clarification.

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