What's an Air Conditioning Dry Charge?

April 01, 2015

Over the past decade, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have mandated that all makers of air conditioning equipment halt production of the refrigerant R-22 (Freon) or Hydrochlorofluorocarbons (HCFCs). These refrigerants have been commonly used in air conditioners and heat pumps for a long time. The R-22 and HCFC mandates are anticipated to have the HVAC industry move to a more environmentally friendly refrigerant with a technical designation R410A. R410A has been shown to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 most air conditioning firms began manufacturing Air Conditioning and Heat Pump units, without adding refrigerant at the factory. These systems are more commonly called “dry charged units”. They can legally be sold and installed then your local HVAC contractor (such as Barlow Service Experts) can charge the unit with R22. R22 is still legal for AC repair or service a while longer. The purpose of these Dry Charged Units is to provide the greater Ogden 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.

Ogden homeowners should know that these Dry Charged Units are approved 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”. 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. The following are some Frequently Asked Questions about this recent A/C Dry Charge trend.

Does it make sense to buy a Dry Charge Air Conditioning Unit?

It 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 offers 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 offer benefits to Ogden homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. Some of the benefits include:

  • Greater energy efficiency for reduced cost of comfort
  • State-of-the-art 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
  • Earth friendly refrigerant that reduces the carbon imprint that negatively impacts our environment
  • Matched coil solutions for enhanced reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance

Are Dry Charge units legal?

Yes. 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.

Does a warranty come with a Dry Charge Unit?

Major manufacturers honor 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.

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 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 Barlow Service Experts for clarification.

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