What’s an Air Conditioning Dry Charge?

Over the past decade, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have directed that all makers of air conditioning equipment stop production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been typically used in air conditioners and heat pumps for the last several decades. These mandates are suppose to have the HVAC industry shift to a more green friendly refrigerant with a technical label R410A. R410A has been shown to be safer for the environment. 

In late 2010 reputable 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”. They can legally be sold and installed which permits your the U.S. area HVAC contractor to charge the unit on-site with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service for a few more years. The purpose of these Dry Charged Units is to give the greater the U.S. area a more simple and relatively inexpensive 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. 

the U.S. homeowners should know that these Dry Charged Units are permitted 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”. 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 most important thing to do is understand what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry can offer and seek solutions to meet 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 have many benefits to the U.S. homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A sample of the benefits include: 

  • Greater energy efficiency for reduced cost of comfort 
  • Modern technology to lower humidity 
  • Current production refrigerant solutions guaranteeing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant 
  • Expanded warranty periods for significant peace of mind 
  • Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment 
  • Eco friendly refrigerant that protects the 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. 

Does a warranty come with a Dry Charge Unit? 

The majority of manufacturers have established a standard 5-year parts warranty on dry charge units. While this affords 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 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 gradually be reduced, with full elimination of its production in 2020. Until that date, 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 & Plumbing for clarification. 

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