What's an Air Conditioning Dry Charge?

April 01, 2015

Over the past several years, both the U.S. and Canadian governments have mandated 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 a long time. The R-22 and HCFC mandates are expected to have the HVAC industry turn to a more earth friendly refrigerant with a technical designation R410A. R410A has been proven to be safer for the environment.

In late 2010 most 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 which permits your Rochester 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 reason for these Dry Charged Units is to give the greater Rochester 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.

Rochester 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”. These days, condensers or heat pumps intended for use in a replacement R-22 system are usually referred to as “Dry Charge” or “Nitrogen Charged” systems. Below 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?

Well, it really depends on a number of things. The best thing to do is understand what types of HVAC equipment the heating and air conditioning industry has to offer and seek solutions to address 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 Rochester homeowners that Dry Charge units do not. A sample of the benefits include:

  • Increased energy efficiency for reduced cost of comfort
  • Leading technology to reduce humidity
  • Current production refrigerant solutions ensuring longer life and extended availability of refrigerant
  • Extended warranty periods for more peace of mind
  • Quieter operation for a more peaceful indoor environment
  • Ozone friendly refrigerant that protects the environment
  • Matched coil solutions for enhanced reliability and guaranteed cooling and heating performance

Are Dry Change Air Conditioning Unit legal to install?

Absolutely. There are no Federal laws or legal restriction on the installation of R-22 or Dry Charge Equipment, with the stipulation that it is repairing an existing air conditioning system.

What about the warranty?

The majority of 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.

Is R-22 refrigerant going to get really expensive?

It is likely that as a result of supply and demand, R-22 refrigerant will become more expensive. 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 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 Strogen's Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning for clarification.

Contact Us