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#4479194 - 08/04/17 05:52 PM My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 4060
Loc: Midwest USA
Rheem gas furnace and central A/C, 2004 manufacture date, installed 2005 new construction house, put into service (started using) 2006 when we bought the place. I don't know the tonnage but house is typical 1.5 story 2250 sq ft, brick 1st story, siding for the upper 1/2 story. Dual zone by diverter in the supply plenum.

So the unit has been virtually trouble free and serviced every other year with me changing filters approx every 9 months (20x25x5 Honeywell). Has some kind of anti-bacterial ultravoilet light bulb thingy installed in the return plenum not sure what it's called, supposed to help against [censored] in your air I guess.

Anyhow, had the recent heat and humidity wave last week and week before, highs mid 90's high humidity w/ heat index (how hot it feels) in the 100-105 range. The unit did fine. Thermostat @ 77 lower zone 79 upper (no one upstairs anymore) during day, down to 74/79 evenings and overnight. Unit pulled the temp on lower zone to 74 without much trouble or excessive running through the heat wave.

But, over this past weekend, after a front came in and heat wave gone, temps more mild, the unit inexplicably took a dump and stopped cooling well, would run and run struggling to bring lower zone to 75 and wouldn't get it any lower. Air out of registers barely cool. And the kicker: when the unit was running I could hear the refrigerant in the lines where they enter the evap coil air handler box making the sounds they would normally only make at shut down when pressure is equalizing-- gurgling sound. To me, and I know only enough about HVAC to screw something up, that hinted at a low charge i.e. a leak. Next door neighbor changed cable providers and they marked underground lines recently in between our houses and my first thought was maybe they tripped and fell into my condensor unit and triggered a leak. But it looked undisturbed.

Called out the HVAC contractor. Now for the kicker: He used his electronic sniffer and had a time finding any significant leaks !! Said he got some really weak indications in the air handler at the evap coil, but found the unit real low on charge. forget the figures he said but said it was only producing a 10 degree drop on the coil it was so low. Charged it to get me going, but the bad news is the unit uses R22 and the materials charge alone for the amount he had to put in was $238. The invoice looks like it says R100 though, but he did say it was labeled for R22.

So it's cooling like a champ now (shouldn't have said that probably...) but we were both scratching our heads on how it could lose that much Freon in that short time span and not be indicating a larger leak somewhere.

Anyhow, he said the evap coil was clean but did show a level of corrosion expected on a unit in service almost 12 yrs. Said should consider just replacing the entire system since install of a new evap coil and the necessary capture of existing refrigerant plus the cost to recharge the entire system with the old stuff might represent sinking too much expense into an old system. Said he'd have their estimator give me a call.

I'll probably collect several estimates.

I do plan to sell the place soon, next year or so, so I suppose a new furnace and air cond system might help it on the market.

But [removed] anyhow... smile


Edited by wwillson (08/05/17 10:21 PM)
Edit Reason: bypassing censor

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#4479218 - 08/04/17 06:32 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
danez_yoda Offline


Registered: 07/18/09
Posts: 465
Loc: texas
It depends on the cost of a new system.

I had a guy tell me the same thing when my R22 system had a leak and he offered a Heil (2nd tier) 4 ton unit as a replacement for $6600 installed. Reuse my air handler and lines and only replace the condenser and evaporator.

Sent him packing and found a place that would install a Carrier base unit for $3700.

A little secret about R22 vs R410. 410 runs at higher pressure so the evaporators have thicker walls to hold the pressure. You CAN run a 410 evaporator with R22 but you need to change either the TXV (if it has one) or the orifice tube to R22 specifications.

look at https://www.acwholesalers.com for prices for the basic parts. Question any outrageous markups.

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#4479220 - 08/04/17 06:35 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
Donald Offline


Registered: 03/21/04
Posts: 20469
Loc: Upstate NY
I just bought a place with two new Trane units. One for each floor. I am glad they are new but in making a offer on the house I did not factor in new HVAC not a new septic.
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#4479226 - 08/04/17 06:42 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
JMJNet Offline


Registered: 09/06/07
Posts: 934
Loc: TX, USA
Get another tech and see what is going on.

Hopefully, he is smarter and more resourceful.
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#4479234 - 08/04/17 06:46 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
AirgunSavant Offline


Registered: 07/22/15
Posts: 3772
Loc: MD
I got a hybrid system last year and went middle of the road because all of the units are good for 10 years these days. I will however never get a hybrid system again. No problems but they are about useless here in the east. I run my system now as a dedicated AC unit and an oil heater. I dialed out the hybrid mode.

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#4479238 - 08/04/17 06:56 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
PimTac Offline


Registered: 03/04/17
Posts: 4329
Loc: Soviet State of Washington
The cynical side of me is thinking that someone stole your refrigerant. It happens.
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#4479255 - 08/04/17 07:20 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
WhyMe Offline


Registered: 12/18/12
Posts: 514
Loc: Washington for now
i probably have the same system at my house. a few years ago i lost my charge slowly over the winter. when i started it up i heard a hissing in the line outside. there was very very small pinhole in the line close to the outsdie umit. had a guy come and braze the hole and recharge the system. Cost me $200 and its been running well since.

Check the lines between the compressor and evap


Edited by WhyMe (08/04/17 07:21 PM)

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#4479260 - 08/04/17 07:27 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
Nick1994 Offline


Registered: 02/19/13
Posts: 10129
Loc: Phoenix, AZ
Mine had trouble in June cooling the house, called out an A/C guy and he took a picture of the evaporator and showed me, 2 oily leaky spots.

He said it's probably just a slow leak and he'll recharge it and it should be fine for another year or two. Still running like a champ.

I guess if it's still cooling, that's good.
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#4479283 - 08/04/17 07:51 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
eljefino Offline


Registered: 06/15/03
Posts: 32656
Loc: ME
You won't get 100% of your money back putting in new AC if you're dumping your house. "AC works", yes.

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#4479308 - 08/04/17 08:16 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
bullwinkle Offline


Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 7671
Loc: Cincinnati, OH, USA
He should have put some refrigerant dye in it-that way, the next time it runs low, it'll be obvious where the leak is. Evaporators (usually A-coils) do get leaky with age, though.
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#4479313 - 08/04/17 08:20 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
bullwinkle Offline


Registered: 10/09/04
Posts: 7671
Loc: Cincinnati, OH, USA
Also, I would get a second opinion (unless you REALLY know the service tech & company well)-very many companies pay bonuses to their techs for selling new systems, and 12 years really isn't that old for an A/C system. Mine is now 20 years old, and other than a mechanical compressor failure & a couple of contactors & run capacitors, it's still chugging along just fine, although the condensing unit isn't going to win many beauty contests.
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#4479314 - 08/04/17 08:21 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: LoneRanger]
SatinSilver Offline


Registered: 01/24/08
Posts: 10179
Loc: OH
Be careful when ordering a new system. Make sure that the delivery is to your door. With many of these new units the shipping company will contact you saying the truck won't be able to make it to your house. You then have to pick it up on the side of the highway while cars are whizzing by.

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#4479321 - 08/04/17 08:27 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: SatinSilver]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 4060
Loc: Midwest USA
Originally Posted By: SatinSilver
Be careful when ordering a new system. Make sure that the delivery is to your door. With many of these new units the shipping company will contact you saying the truck won't be able to make it to your house. You then have to pick it up on the side of the highway while cars are whizzing by.


There truly is one in every crowd . . . laugh
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#4479325 - 08/04/17 08:30 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: PimTac]
Leo99 Offline


Registered: 03/30/14
Posts: 3052
Loc: NJ
Originally Posted By: PimTac
The cynical side of me is thinking that someone stole your refrigerant. It happens.


I was going to write the same.
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#4479326 - 08/04/17 08:30 PM Re: My House Air Cond Took a Dump - Tech was Stumped [Re: PimTac]
LoneRanger Offline


Registered: 07/02/07
Posts: 4060
Loc: Midwest USA
Originally Posted By: PimTac
The cynical side of me is thinking that someone stole your refrigerant. It happens.


Hummmm . . .

Maybe I'll put some tamper-evident tape across the access panel.
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