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 producers 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 many decades. The R-22 and HCFC mandates are expected to have the HVAC industry turn to a more earth friendly refrigerant with a technical code R410A. R410A has been verified to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 the majority of 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”. These A/C units can legally be sold and installed allowing the HVAC contractor to charge the unit in the field 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 Cocoa 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 to wean the industry off less eco-friendly refrigerants.

Cocoa homeowners should be aware that these Dry Charged Units are allowed 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 usually referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. The following 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 most important 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.

Why would I buy a R-410A refrigerant system?

Current R-410A systems provide benefits to Cocoa homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:

  • Increased energy efficiency for comfort at a cost savings
  • State-of-the-art technology to lessen 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
  • Eco 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, however, it can only be used as a repair to 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 significantly.

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 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 Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for clarification.

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