Over the past 10 years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have mandated that all makers of air conditioning equipment phase out production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been typically used in air conditioners and heat pumps for the last several decades. The recommended phase-out mandates are suppose to have the HVAC industry move to a more earth friendly refrigerant with a technical code R410A. R410A has been proven to be safer for the environment.
In late 2010 reputable air conditioning producers began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. These units are more commonly called “dry charged units”. The units can legally be sold and installed which permits your Charlotte area HVAC contractor to charge the unit on-site with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service for a short time longer. The purpose of these Dry Charged Units is to provide the greater Charlotte area a more simple and cost effective replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also circumvent the spirit of the mandates, which was to help the environment by introducing more environment friendly solutions.
Charlotte homeowners should know that these Dry Charged Units are approved in the U.S. and Canada. Because of the lack of clarity regarding the definition of an outdoor unit in the rules, 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 usually referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.
Should I buy a “Dry Charge” A/C system?
The answer to this question hinges on a number of things. The number one 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 Charlotte homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:
- Greater energy efficiency for affordable in-home comfort
- State-of-the-art technology to lower humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions ensuring longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Expanded warranty periods for significant peace of mind
- Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
- Eco friendly refrigerant for lower impact on the environment
- Matched coil solutions for improved reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance
Are Dry Change Air Conditioning Unit legal to install?
Yes. There are no Federal laws or legal restriction on the installation of R-22 or Dry Charge Equipment, with the stipulation that it is repairing an existing air conditioning system.
Does a warranty come with a Dry Charge Unit?
Most 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 significantly.
How expensive will R-22 get in the next few years?
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 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.