Over the past 10 years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have instructed that all manufacturers of air conditioning equipment phase out production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been commonly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for many decades. These mandates are intended to have the HVAC industry shift to a more green 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 producers began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. Such systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. These A/C units can legally be sold and installed which permits your Fort Worth 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 intent for these Dry Charged Units is to provide the greater Fort Worth 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 to help the environment by introducing more environment friendly solutions.
Fort Worth homeowners should know that these Dry Charged Units are allowed 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 now referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. Below are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.
Should I buy a “Dry Charge” A/C system?
The answer to this question hinges on a number of things. The most important thing to do is determine 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 Fort Worth homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:
- Greater energy efficiency for comfort at a cost savings
- Modern technology to lower humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions guaranteeing longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Longer warranty periods for significant peace of mind
- Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
- Earth friendly refrigerant that protects the environment
- Matched coil solutions for improved 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.
What about the warranty?
Most manufacturers have 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 substantially.
Will the R-22 refrigerant be expensive to buy?
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 that time however, 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 Stark Services for clarification.