What's an Air Conditioning Dry Charge?

April 01, 2015

Over the past 10 years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have instructed that all makers of air conditioning equipment halt production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been commonly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for the last several decades. The recommended phase-out mandates are expected to have the HVAC industry turn to a more earth friendly refrigerant with a technical label R410A. R410A has been verified to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 reputable air conditioning firms began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. Such 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 a while longer. The intent for these Dry Charged Units is to provide the greater Grand Island area a more simple and cost effective replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also bypass the spirit of the mandates, which was to help the environment by introducing more environment friendly solutions.

Grand Island homeowners should be aware 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 deemed a replacement “part”. These days, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are usually referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.

Do you recommend purchasing a Dry Charge Air Conditioning System?

Well, it really depends on a number of things. The most important thing to do is determine what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry has to 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 offer benefits to Grand Island homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A few of the benefits include:

  • Greater energy efficiency for reduced cost of comfort
  • Leading technology to reduce 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
  • Eco friendly refrigerant that protects the environment
  • Matched coil solutions for increased 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, as long as it is as a repair for an existing system.

Is there a warranty that comes with it?

Most 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 dramatically.

How expensive will R-22 get in the next few years?

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 gradually be reduced, with full elimination of its production in 2020. Until then, 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 McElroy Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for clarification.

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