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 commonly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for the last several decades. The recommended phase-out mandates are intended to have the HVAC industry move to a more green friendly refrigerant with a technical designation R410A. R410A has been shown 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. These systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. The 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 offer the greater Livermore 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 wean the industry off less eco-friendly refrigerants.
Livermore homeowners should be aware that these Dry Charged Units are permitted 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”. 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.
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 to address 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 Livermore homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A few of the benefits include:
- Greater energy efficiency for reduced cost of comfort
- State-of-the-art technology to lessen humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions ensuring longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Extended warranty periods for significant peace of mind
- Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
- Eco friendly refrigerant that reduces the carbon imprint that negatively impacts our 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 have 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.
Will the R-22 refrigerant be expensive to buy?
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 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.