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 standardly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for many decades. The recommended phase-out mandates are expected to have the HVAC industry turn to a more earth friendly refrigerant with a technical designation R410A. R410A has been verified to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 most 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”. They can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Peachtree Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning) can charge the unit 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 Atlanta 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 intended to better protect our environment by moving the air conditioning industry to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant.

Atlanta homeowners should be aware 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 often referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. The following are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.

Should I buy a “Dry Charge” A/C system?

Well, it really depends on a number of things. The number one thing to do is understand 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 have many benefits to Atlanta homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:

  • Increased energy efficiency for reduced cost of comfort
  • Leading technology to lower humidity
  • Current production refrigerant solutions allowing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
  • Extended warranty periods for significant peace of mind
  • Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
  • Earth friendly refrigerant for lower impact on the environment
  • Matched coil solutions for enhanced reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance

Is it legal to install Dry Charge units?

Definitely. 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?

Major 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.

Will the R-22 refrigerant be expensive to buy?

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 progressively 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 Peachtree Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for clarification.

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