What's an Air Conditioning Dry Charge?

April 01, 2015

Over the past several 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 standardly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for the last several decades. The recommended phase-out mandates are expected to have the HVAC industry move to a more earth friendly refrigerant with a technical code R410A. R410A has been shown 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. These systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. These A/C units can legally be sold and installed which permits your Oklahoma City area HVAC contractor to charge the unit on-site with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service a while longer. The purpose of these Dry Charged Units is to provide the greater Oklahoma City 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 intended to better protect our environment by moving the air conditioning industry to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant.

Oklahoma City homeowners should understand 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”. Today, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are often referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. The following are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.

Should I buy a “Dry Charge” A/C system?

The answer to this question hinges on a number of things. The best thing to do is learn what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry has to 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 Oklahoma City homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A sample of the benefits include:

  • Greater energy efficiency for affordable in-home comfort
  • Modern technology to lessen humidity
  • Current production refrigerant solutions ensuring longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
  • Expanded warranty periods for more 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 Change Air Conditioning Unit legal to install?

Absolutely. 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.

Does a warranty come with a Dry Charge Unit?

The majority of manufacturers have a standard 5-year parts warranty on dry charge units. While this offers 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, the refrigerant will probably go up in price. 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 Gordon's Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for clarification.

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