Over the past 10 years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have directed that all makers of air conditioning equipment halt production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been typically 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 environmentally friendly refrigerant with a technical designation 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. These units are more commonly called “dry charged units”. They can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Komfort Air) can charge the unit with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service for a short time longer. The reason for these Dry Charged Units is to give the greater Charlotte 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 intended to better protect our environment by moving the air conditioning industry to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant.
Charlotte homeowners should know 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”. As a result, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are usually referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. Below 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?
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 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 Charlotte homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A sample of the benefits include:
- Greater energy efficiency for comfort at a cost savings
- Leading technology to lessen humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions ensuring longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Expanded warranty periods for even greater 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
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.
What about the warranty?
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, 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 then, 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 Komfort Air for clarification.