Over the past several years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have directed that all makers of air conditioning equipment phase out production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been standardly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for the last several decades. These mandates are suppose to have the HVAC industry shift to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant with a technical label 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”. These A/C units can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning) can charge the unit 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 offer the greater Alliance area a more simple and cost effective replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also dodge the spirit of the mandates, which was to help the environment by introducing more environment friendly solutions.
Alliance 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 considered 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.
Do you recommend purchasing a Dry Charge Air Conditioning System?
It depends on a number of things. The best thing to do is determine what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry offers 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.
Why would I buy a R-410A refrigerant system?
Current R-410A systems have many benefits to Alliance homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A few of the benefits include:
- Improved energy efficiency for affordable in-home comfort
- Modern technology to lower humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions guaranteeing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Expanded 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?
Yes. 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.
Does a warranty come with a Dry Charge Unit?
The majority of manufacturers honor 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 substantially.
Is R-22 refrigerant going to get really expensive?
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 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for clarification.