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 makers 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 many decades. The R-22 and HCFC 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 the majority of air conditioning companies began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. These units are more commonly called “dry charged units”. The units can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Jack Nelson Service Experts) can charge the unit 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 Tulsa area a more simple and relatively inexpensive replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also dodge 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.

Tulsa 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 deemed a replacement “part”. These days, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are now referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. Below 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 number one thing to do is learn 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 Tulsa homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:

  • Improved energy efficiency for affordable in-home comfort
  • State-of-the-art 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 that protects the environment
  • Matched coil solutions for increased reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance

Are Dry Charge units legal?

Yes. 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.

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 offers industry standard protection on the components it does not provide protection against R-22 refrigerant prices, which are expected to increase substantially.

Will the R-22 refrigerant be expensive to buy?

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 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 Jack Nelson Service Experts for clarification.

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