Over the past 10 years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have instructed that all makers of air conditioning equipment phase out production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been commonly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for many decades. These mandates are intended to have the HVAC industry turn to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant with a technical label R410A. R410A has been shown 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 units are more commonly called “dry charged units”. These A/C units can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Pardee Service Experts) can charge the unit with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service for a few more years. The purpose of these Dry Charged Units is to offer the greater Charleston area a more simple and relatively inexpensive replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also bypass the spirit of the mandates, which was to wean the industry off less eco-friendly refrigerants.
Charleston homeowners should understand that these Dry Charged Units are approved in the U.S. and Canada. Taking advantage of an unclear definition of the outdoor unit in these 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 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 learn what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry can 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.
Why would I buy a R-410A refrigerant system?
Current R-410A systems offer benefits to Charleston 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 guaranteeing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Longer 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?
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?
The majority of manufacturers have established 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 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 Pardee Service Experts for clarification.