New Dry R-22 Central Air Conditioning Condensing Units Are Available For Replacement Applications.
Wow, we thought that we were done with R-22 units and now manufacturers are beginning to ship "Dry" R-22 units with a helium and or nitrogen charge.
Despite the EPA's ban on the manufacture of new ozone depleting R-22 units, the reasons for the development — which, to many, was unexpected — include:
• The original U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) ruling of 2009 — designed to curtail use of R-22 — only said that entire systems could not be manufactured and that any replacement components for aftermarket use could not be pre-charged with the refrigerant.
• The fact that condensing units constitute a component not an entire system.
• There is still an ample supply of R-22 at fairly reasonable prices.
• A sluggish economy is helping prop up R-22 supplies.
• There is a customer demand for the less expensive R-22 components to use in repair of older R-22 components, rather than changing out to R-410A a/c equipment.
The concerns raised include:
• The continuing manufacture of entire condensing units — while not in violation of the letter of the law with regards to the EPA regulations — may not be meeting the spirit of the law even if that spirit is somewhat unclear.
• The possibility that the stepped up use of R-22 to charge on site the dry shipped equipment will increase the use of the refrigerant to the point where some R-22 equipment could become stranded and unable to be serviced with dwindling supplies of R-22.
• Some questions about the ability of service technicians to fully charge a residential air conditioner on site especially in terms of accidental venting.
According to Bill Hanesworth, VP and general manager for Rheem Heating and Cooling, “Rheem is committed to supplying its customers with replacement parts and components to service existing installations. With a replacement market three times the size of the new construction market, and with the economy being the worst in decades, Rheem is dedicated to supporting consumers who have our products installed in their homes.”
He added, “As such, Rheem will produce a limited supply of split system air conditioners that will be shipped dry (nitrogen holding charge) and require a field-supplied charge of R-22 refrigerant.”
Please note: This product is only intended for condensing change-out in existing R-22 systems. New R-22 system installations are prohibited by EPA. This product must be charged with R-22 refrigerant meeting AHRI 700 purity standard.
The best option is to replace your equipment with models utilizing the new environmentally safer refrigerant and the highest energy efficiency you can afford as R-22 and electricity will only become more expensive in the years to come. But at least for a short time you have another option.