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 halt production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been standardly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for a long time. The recommended phase-out mandates are intended to have the HVAC industry turn to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant with a technical label R410A. R410A has been verified to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 the majority of air conditioning manufacturers 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 which permits your Salt Lake City area HVAC contractor to charge the unit on-site with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service for a short time longer. The purpose of these Dry Charged Units is to offer the greater Salt Lake City area a more simple and affordable replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also bypass the spirit of the mandates, which was to help the environment by introducing more environment friendly solutions.

Salt Lake City homeowners should know that these Dry Charged Units are approved 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 looked upon as a replacement “part”. As a result, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are now referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. Here 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?

The answer to this question hinges on a number of things. The number one thing to do is determine what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry has to 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.

Reasons to buy an R-410A refrigerant system

Current R-410A systems provide benefits to Salt Lake City homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A few of the benefits include:

  • Greater energy efficiency for reduced cost of comfort
  • Leading technology to reduce humidity
  • Current production refrigerant solutions ensuring longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
  • Extended warranty periods for significant 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 increased reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance

Are Dry Charge units legal?

Absolutely. 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?

Most 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.

How expensive will R-22 get in the next few years?

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 Mountainwest Service Experts for clarification.

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