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 commonly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for a long time. These mandates are suppose to have the HVAC industry move to a more green friendly refrigerant with a technical label R410A. R410A has been shown to be safer for the environment.
In late 2010 reputable air conditioning manufacturers 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 allowing the HVAC contractor to charge the unit in the field 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 Knoxville area a more simple and cost effective 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.
Knoxville homeowners should be aware 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 looked upon as a replacement “part”. As a result, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are often referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. Here are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.
Does it make sense to buy a Dry Charge Air Conditioning Unit?
It 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 that speaks to 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 Knoxville homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:
- Improved energy efficiency for comfort at a cost savings
- State-of-the-art technology to lessen humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions ensuring longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Expanded warranty periods for even greater peace of mind
- Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
- Ozone friendly refrigerant that protects the environment
- Matched coil solutions for enhanced 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, with the stipulation that it is repairing an existing air conditioning system.
Is there a warranty that comes with it?
Major manufacturers have established 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 significantly.
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 gradually be reduced, with full elimination of its production in 2020. Until that date, 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 R & M Climate Control Service Experts for clarification.