Over the past decade, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have instructed that all makers 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 the last several decades. The R-22 and HCFC mandates are expected to have the HVAC industry turn 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”. These A/C units can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Roland J. Down Service Experts ) can charge the unit with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service for a few more years. The intent for these Dry Charged Units is to offer the greater Albany area a more simple and relatively inexpensive replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also circumvent 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.
Albany 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 looked upon as a replacement “part”. Today, 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.
Do you recommend purchasing a Dry Charge Air Conditioning System?
It depends on a number of things. The best thing to do is learn 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 Albany homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:
- Improved energy efficiency for comfort at a cost savings
- Leading technology to lower humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions ensuring longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
- Expanded warranty periods for even greater peace of mind
- Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
- Ozone 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?
Yes. 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 honor a standard 5-year parts warranty on dry charge units. While this provides 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 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 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 Roland J. Down Service Experts for clarification.