What's an Air Conditioning Dry Charge?

April 01, 2015

Over the past decade, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have directed that all manufacturers of air conditioning equipment phase out production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been commonly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for the last several decades. These mandates are expected to have the HVAC industry move to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant with a technical designation R410A. R410A has been proven to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 most air conditioning companies 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 Indianapolis 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 offer the greater Indianapolis area a more simple and affordable 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.

Indianapolis homeowners should know that these Dry Charged Units are allowed in the U.S. and Canada. Because of some key ambiguities in the written policies, 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 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 most important thing to do is determine what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry can 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 offer benefits to Indianapolis 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 ensuring longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
  • Longer warranty periods for even greater 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 improved reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance

Is it legal to install Dry Charge units?

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

Will the R-22 refrigerant be expensive to buy?

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 progressively 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 Broad Ripple Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for clarification.

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