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 many decades. The recommended phase-out mandates are intended to have the HVAC industry shift to a more green friendly refrigerant with a technical label R410A. R410A has been proven 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 systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. The units can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Wesley Wood Service Experts) can charge the unit with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service for a few more years. The intent for these Dry Charged Units is to offer the greater West Chester area a more simple and affordable 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.
West Chester 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 looked upon as 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?
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 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.
Why would I buy a R-410A refrigerant system?
Current R-410A systems provide benefits to West Chester homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:
- Greater energy efficiency for comfort at a cost savings
- Leading technology to reduce humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions guaranteeing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Expanded warranty periods for more peace of mind
- Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
- Ozone friendly refrigerant for lower impact on the environment
- Matched coil solutions for increased reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance
Is it legal to install Dry Charge units?
Yes. There are no Federal laws or legal restriction on the installation of R-22 or Dry Charge Equipment, however, it can only be used as a repair to an existing system.
Is there a warranty that comes with it?
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 substantially.
Is R-22 refrigerant going to get really expensive?
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 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 Wesley Wood Service Experts for clarification.