Over the past decade, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have mandated that all producers of air conditioning equipment halt 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. The recommended phase-out mandates are suppose to have the HVAC industry turn to a more green friendly refrigerant with a technical code R410A. R410A has been proven to be safer for the environment.
In late 2010 reputable air conditioning companies began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. These systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. The units can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Eveready Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning) can charge the unit with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service for a few more years. The reason for these Dry Charged Units is to offer the greater Richmond area a more simple and relatively inexpensive 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.
Richmond homeowners should be aware that these Dry Charged Units are approved 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?
It depends on a number of things. The most important thing to do is understand 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.
Top reasons for buying an R-410A system
Current R-410A systems have many benefits to Richmond homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A sample of the benefits include:
- Increased energy efficiency for affordable in-home comfort
- State-of-the-art 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
- Ozone friendly refrigerant that protects the environment
- Matched coil solutions for improved reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance
Are Dry Charge units legal?
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.
Does a warranty come with a Dry Charge Unit?
Major manufacturers honor 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 dramatically.
Is R-22 refrigerant going to get really expensive?
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 Eveready Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for clarification.