Over the past 10 years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have directed that all makers of air conditioning equipment phase out production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been typically used in air conditioners and heat pumps for a long time. These mandates are intended to have the HVAC industry shift to a more green friendly refrigerant with a technical code R410A. R410A has been shown 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. Such systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. They can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Bob Brown Service Experts) can charge the unit 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 provide the greater Phoenix area a more simple and cost effective replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also bypass 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.
Phoenix homeowners should be aware that these Dry Charged Units are allowed 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 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.
Do you recommend purchasing a Dry Charge Air Conditioning System?
Well, it really depends on a number of things. The number one thing to do is learn what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry has to offer 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 offer benefits to Phoenix homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A sample of the benefits include:
- Increased energy efficiency for reduced cost of comfort
- Leading technology to lower humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions guaranteeing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Extended warranty periods for significant peace of mind
- Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
- Ozone friendly refrigerant that protects the environment
- Matched coil solutions for enhanced 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, with the stipulation that it is repairing an existing air conditioning system.
What about the warranty?
Most manufacturers have 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, the answer to this question is “yes – we do anticipate R-22 refrigerant to get pricey”. 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 Bob Brown Service Experts for clarification.