R-22 Dry Charge Systems After 2015

We received a question about the potential decline of the R22 Dry Charge units after the 2015 efficiency regulations go into effect and thought others might want to read about this topic.

The new efficiency standards going into effect on 1/1/15 do not really address any questions about refrigerants directly.  However, we believe the new regulations will have some indirect effects on demand for R22 dry charge systems since almost all of the dry charge units today are 13 SEER and there will be restrictions on where 13 SEER can be used after the regulations change.  Based on what we have heard from the DOE, there is an 18 month grace period, ending on 6/30/16, to install products built prior to 1/1/15.  Any system built after 1/1/15 must meet the new efficiency standards for affected regions.  Under these new efficiency standards, all heat pumps must be 14 SEER or higher for all regions, irrespective of the refrigerant used, after the 18 month grace period.  All unitary split AC systems in the South and Southwest regions must also meet the 14 SEER or higher standard but they only have to be 13 SEER or higher in the North region, also irrespective of the refrigerant.  Thus, it would appear that after the grace period, R22, 13 SEER, dry charge unitary split AC systems will only be allowed in the North region. There is nothing pending to our knowledge that will restrict the ability to install those last remaining R-22, dry charge 13 SEER AC models into the North but we do know that all the other regions and all heat pumps for all regions must be 14 SEER.  After the grace period, any dry charge units for those regions and any heat pumps for any region must be 14 SEER, irrespective of refrigerant used.  The question remains as to whether there will be any interest in 14 SEER dry charge units which might meet the minimum SEER level for all heat pumps and for the AC systems in the South and Southwest regions or whether that is even possible.

We will continue to monitor this situation as it evolves so please check back from time to time and let us know what you are hearing from others about these regulations.

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8 thoughts on “R-22 Dry Charge Systems After 2015

  1. Dear world,
    Dry charge is fine because I can now use R-407C as a replacement for R-22. The cost of R22 going up faster than insurance, so people are, today, priced out of using it except in extreme cases.

    With R-407C, there is no efficiency loss and I can use the old coils.

    Think about this scenario, you just bought a 200 unit apartment complex with 2009 R-22 systems (I see this all the time). As an owner, you *cannot* replace all of those systems (Fan coil inside and CU outside) with R-410A. It is not feasible. The inside fan coil is almost new.

    Of course, for any unit that is really old, the whole system should be replaced.

    I also see a lot of R410A heat pump units that are 8 years old and the inside fan coil unit coil is leaking and needs replacement for $250+/e.

  2. Thank God, DOE have made clear that 14 SEER dry-charged unit won’t see the face of the earth.

    On December 16th, the Department of Energy (DOE) published new test procedure guidance, which effectively phases out the manufacture of dry charge equipment

    Highlights:

    Manufacturers must comply with a new test procedure, and stop the production of dry charge equipment
    Manufacturers, distributors and contractors will have an unlimited sell-through period for any dry charge equipment in inventory
    DOE may investigate and seek civil penalties from manufacturers who produced, distributed and sold newly introduced (i.e. 14 SEER) dry charge equipment after the publication of the DOE test procedure supplemental notice of public rule making.

  3. I have a 92 motorhome that needs to be recharged with R-22. My other slternative is to buy another roof unit for my RV. They cost way too much for me to buy. Where can I find a place that will recharge my unit? I live between Seattle and Tacoma Washington? I had it done about 5 years ago but it must have leaked out. Would it need new seals first before having yhe unit charged and what sort of parts would I need? Thank you

    • Hi Tamra – Motor home HVAC systems are often quite a bit different from regular residential systems, which are the focus of this site. You might want to check with the manufacturer of your mobile home or if you can get the brand name off your current AC unit you might try contacting that company for a list of contractors or dealers who can service it for you. Some residential contractors might also be able to service it. We support ACCA – which is a national contractor organizaiton. Here is there link to their contractor locator tool.

      http://www.acca.org/locator

  4. thanks
    dear sir iam on my way to do a test to retrofit a R-22 split A/c with a propane do u thing i may have a similar performance to the origion R-22

    • PLEASE DO NOT DO THIS!

      Propane is not a approved replacement or even a approved refrigerant in the United States..

      This could become a dangerous situation for your home and family as well as anyone else that may work on this system in the future.

      You may be held liable for a death or destruction of property.

      There are other approved drop-in replacement refrigerants for r-22 that are listed as not flammable, but just remember they are all mixes and if you have you have a refrigerant leak, the mix may become unstable, requiring a full evacuation and recharge anytime the level may get low. Fix any leaks prior to retrofitting to an approved drop-in replacement refrigerant and clearly mark your unit with what drop-in refrigerant was used.

      Good luck
      J

  5. I am renting a home that has a 13 SEER Trane unit installed. It needs the coils replaced. Will my landlord’s HVAC company be legally allowed to service our unit after 1/1/2015? I believe the unit takes the old refrigerant that will no longer be used. Does the 18 month grace period apply to maintenance contracts as well?

    • Your old unit can still be serviced after 1/1/15. If you are in the South or Southwest regions you will have an 18 months to replace your existing AC system with a similar 13 SEER system or parts as long as the replacement system (or outdoor unit) was manufactured before 1/1/15. If you are in the North region you can continue to repair or replace your AC with a 13 SEER AC system or 13 SEER parts beyond the 18 month grace period since the minimum there remains at 13 SEER. However, if a heat pump is being replaced then the 18 month grace period will apply irrespective of the region since the new 14 SEER heat pump minimum will be in place for all three regions. The new regulations also apply to all equipment irrespective of whether it is under a service contract or not.

      The rule on refrigerant only applies to new systems so it is possible that your old system can still be repaired as long as the old (R-22) refrigerant is still available and the efficiency regulations discussed above are not violated. There are some other articles on this site that go into the details of the regulations which are affecting both system efficiency and new refrigerants separately. I hope this helps to answer some of your questions.

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