Over the past several years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have instructed that all producers 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. The recommended phase-out mandates are anticipated to have the HVAC industry shift to a more green friendly refrigerant with a technical label R410A. R410A has been proven to be safer for the environment.
In late 2010 reputable air conditioning producers began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. These units are more commonly called “dry charged units”. The units can legally be sold and installed allowing the HVAC contractor to charge the unit in the field with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service for a few more years. The reason for these Dry Charged Units is to provide the greater Edmonton area a more simple and affordable replacement option for central air conditioners and heat pumps. However, these units also circumvent the spirit of the mandates, which was to wean the industry off less eco-friendly refrigerants.
Edmonton homeowners should be aware that these Dry Charged Units are permitted 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”. As a result, 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.
Should I buy a “Dry Charge” A/C 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.
Top reasons for buying an R-410A system
Current R-410A systems offer benefits to Edmonton homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A few of the benefits include:
- Improved energy efficiency for reduced cost of comfort
- Modern technology to lessen humidity
- Current production refrigerant solutions allowing 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
Are Dry Charge units legal?
Definitely. There are no Federal laws or legal restriction on the installation of R-22 or Dry Charge Equipment, as long as it is as a repair for an existing 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 significantly.
How expensive will R-22 get in the next few years?
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 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 McKinley Heating Service Experts for clarification.