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 stop production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been typically used in air conditioners and heat pumps for many decades. The recommended phase-out mandates are suppose to have the HVAC industry shift to a more green friendly refrigerant with a technical code R410A. R410A has been verified to be safer for the environment.
In late 2010 most air conditioning companies began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. These systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. They 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 intent for these Dry Charged Units is to give the greater Sharonville area a more simple and affordable replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also circumvent the spirit of the mandates, which was to wean the industry off less eco-friendly refrigerants.
Sharonville homeowners should understand that these Dry Charged Units are approved in the U.S. and Canada. Because of some key ambiguities in the written policies, the entire outdoor unit is technically considered a replacement “part”. Today, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are often referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. Below 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 most important thing to do is understand what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry has to 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 provide benefits to Sharonville homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:
- Increased energy efficiency for affordable in-home comfort
- Leading technology to lessen humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions guaranteeing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Longer warranty periods for even greater peace of mind
- Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
- Earth friendly refrigerant that reduces the carbon imprint that negatively impacts our environment
- Matched coil solutions for increased 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, however, it can only be used as a repair to an existing system.
What about the warranty?
Most manufacturers have a standard 5-year parts warranty on dry charge units. While this provides industry standard protection on the components it does not provide protection against R-22 refrigerant prices, which are expected to increase dramatically.
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 time however, 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 Knochelmann Service Experts for clarification.