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 manufacturers of air conditioning equipment stop production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been standardly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for the last several decades. These mandates are intended to have the HVAC industry turn to a more green friendly refrigerant with a technical code R410A. R410A has been verified to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 reputable air conditioning firms 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 which permits your La Porte area HVAC contractor to charge the unit on-site with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service a while longer. The intent for these Dry Charged Units is to give the greater La Porte 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 to wean the industry off less eco-friendly refrigerants.

La Porte homeowners should be aware that these Dry Charged Units are allowed 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. The following are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.

Do you recommend purchasing a Dry Charge Air Conditioning System?

Well, it really depends on a number of things. The best 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 La Porte homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A few of the benefits include:

  • Increased energy efficiency for comfort at a cost savings
  • State-of-the-art technology to lessen humidity
  • Current production refrigerant solutions allowing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
  • Extended warranty periods for more peace of mind
  • Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
  • Earth 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 Change Air Conditioning Unit legal to install?

Definitely. 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 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.

How expensive will R-22 get in the next few years?

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 gradually 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 Finch Air Conditioning & Heating for clarification.

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