What’s an Air Conditioning Dry Charge?

Over the past several years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have directed that all manufacturers of air conditioning equipment halt production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been typically used in air conditioners and heat pumps for many decades. These mandates are expected to have the HVAC industry shift to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant with a technical code R410A. R410A has been proven to be safer for the environment. 

In late 2010 most air conditioning manufacturers began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. Such systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. These A/C units can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Stallion Heating and Air Conditioning) can charge the unit with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service a while longer. The reason for these Dry Charged Units is to give the greater Philadelphia 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 help the environment by introducing more environment friendly solutions. 

Philadelphia homeowners should be aware 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 looked upon as a replacement “part”. As a result, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are now 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? 

Well, it really depends on a number of things. The most important thing to do is determine what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry offers 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. 

Reasons to buy an R-410A refrigerant system 

Current R-410A systems offer benefits to Philadelphia homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A few of the benefits include: 

  • Greater energy efficiency for comfort at a cost savings 
  • Leading technology to lessen humidity 
  • Current production refrigerant solutions allowing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant 
  • Expanded warranty periods for even greater peace of mind 
  • Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment 
  • Eco friendly refrigerant for lower impact on the environment 
  • Matched coil solutions for enhanced reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance 

Are Dry Charge units legal? 

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. 

What about the warranty? 

The majority of 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 dramatically. 

Is R-22 refrigerant going to get really expensive? 

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 slowly 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 Stallion Heating and Air Conditioning for clarification. 

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