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 manufacturers 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 intended to have the HVAC industry turn to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant with a technical code R410A. R410A has been verified to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 the majority of 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 which permits your London area HVAC contractor to charge the unit on-site with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service a while longer. The purpose of these Dry Charged Units is to give the greater London 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 wean the industry off less eco-friendly refrigerants.

London 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”. As a result, 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 number one thing to do is determine 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 have many benefits to London homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved energy efficiency for comfort at a cost savings
  • Modern technology to lessen humidity
  • Current production refrigerant solutions guaranteeing 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 reduces the carbon imprint that negatively impacts our environment
  • Matched coil solutions for enhanced reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance

Is it legal to install Dry Charge units?

Absolutely. 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.

Is there a warranty that comes with it?

Most manufacturers honor 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 substantially.

Is R-22 refrigerant going to get really expensive?

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 progressively 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 Roy Inch & Sons Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for clarification.

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