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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    38

    Is there a way to check for Low Refrigerant?

    My heat pump frosted up this winter and the service tech said that it was due to low refrigerant. He added 6 lbs of refrigerant.

    Quick History: My heat pump was installed 7 or 8 months ago. The installer came back the day after installation to check for proper refrigerant level and topped it off.

    So my question is why did he have to add so much? Do I have a leak?

    Is there a way to check or monitor for Low Refrigerant using my carrier infinity control (SYSTXCCUIZ01) so I can alert the service tech and make sure my heat pump is running optimally? Or is there some other way for me to check?

    Under heat pump status on the infinity control, there is a read-out called suct. press: in PSIG. Is this something useful?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,841
    There is no way to monitor refrigerant charge automatically and in fact, a substantial majority of AC techs are clueless to the proper methods.

    Those who work on HPs in the south all year long swear they have methods to charge a HP in cold weather. God bless them and who am I to dispute them. What I do know (I'm in north country but we do a lot of dual fuel and geo systems so we are very familiar with HPs) is that there is only one sanctioned way (sanctioned by the equipment manufacturers) to charge HP in cold weather and that's by recovering all refrigerant from the system and weighing in the charge. 6# is a lot of refrigerant and unless there's a whopping leak in the system, it's now over charged. Below about 50F outdoor temperature, it's not uncommon to see some frost on the outdoor unit and the colder it gets outdoors, the more frost you're apt to see. It should melt away when the unit goes through a defrost cycle so it is an anticipated event. Other issues that could affect the frost level would be a bad sensor on the outdoor unit or even a faulty defrost board.

    So you have a couple of options here. One is to speak with the service/installation company and ask how the tech knew to add refrigerant and how he could establish a proper charge in cold weather? Or let things go for now and in the spring request/demand a charge check during the AC season. When the HP is in cooling mode, then the charge can accurately be determined using subcooling and superheat information, thus eliminating the recover and weighing need. BTB, the user interface should record any HP or LP trips on the outdoor unit. Low refrigerant charge should appear as many LP trips in winter. Did the tech check for such service info? Just curious.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,590
    6 pounds and they didn't find and fix the leak?

    A low pressure safety in the system should shut the unit down if the refrigerant level gets too low but usually as a last resort. I'd call them back and have a chat with them about finding and fixing the situation. Units low on charge cost lots more to run and it is hard on the compressor.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    38
    I don't think he checked any trips. I did tell him that there was a "dropout-reset event (3 events)" on the history of the infinity controller. He just told me that low refrigerant was probably the reason.

    BaldLoonie - The service tech said it was probably not a leak so he did not check for one. I do have a 4 ton carrier greenspeed with about 50' of line. 6 lbs means nothing to me since I have no perspective. How much should this HP be able to take?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,920
    Quote Originally Posted by cold55 View Post
    I don't think he checked any trips. I did tell him that there was a "dropout-reset event (3 events)" on the history of the infinity controller. He just told me that low refrigerant was probably the reason.

    BaldLoonie - The service tech said it was probably not a leak so he did not check for one. I do have a 4 ton carrier greenspeed with about 50' of line. 6 lbs means nothing to me since I have no perspective. How much should this HP be able to take?
    If there was no leak, where did 6 pounds of refrigerant go over the past 7 months?

    Refrigerant, in a properly sealed system, lasts forever. It doesn't go bad or get used up by the system.

    6 pounds, on a residential system, is quite a lot of gas. My system (only a 2 1/2 ton) only holds a little more than 8 pounds.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,516
    6lbs is about half or more of the total charge in your unit and if gone it leaked
    there is IMHO no way you can put in 6 lbs and say there isnt a leak

    you have a leak call and tell them you want it fixed while it is warrenty

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,759
    You got a leak somewhere. Or they never charged it right to begin with.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Posts
    5,306
    Make sure it's pounds, and not ounces.

    If they needed 6 pounds of refrigerant:

    1. You system never worked before now.

    2. you have a leak.

    If you have a leak, it needs to be fixed.
    I wouldn't expect to pay a dime, unless it's used/internet purchase.
    "Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."

    "Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."

    "Just get it done son."

    Dad adjusted

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,841
    Quote Originally Posted by hvacvegas View Post
    Make sure it's pounds, and not ounces.

    If they needed 6 pounds of refrigerant:

    1. You system never worked before now.

    2. you have a leak.

    If you have a leak, it needs to be fixed.
    I wouldn't expect to pay a dime, unless it's used/internet purchase.
    Um, you left out that it could be substantially over charged now.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Posts
    5,306
    Quote Originally Posted by skippedover View Post
    Um, you left out that it could be substantially over charged now.
    Then it wouldn't "need" the refrigerant, lol :-p
    "Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."

    "Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."

    "Just get it done son."

    Dad adjusted

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,841
    Quote Originally Posted by hvacvegas View Post
    Then it wouldn't "need" the refrigerant, lol :-p
    Exactly, now you're catching on. We have no way of knowing that it did need refrigerant and/or how he arrived at 6#!!
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  12. #12
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Posts
    38
    Haha You guys are getting me worried. I'm sure it's not overcharged. He used a guage to monitor the proper pressure. Maybe the amount is wrong. He did use a scale to measure the amount and the tank he used looked like it was no more than a gallon. How big of a tank would he need to use to pump 6 lbs of refrigerant?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,759
    There is no "proper" pressure.
    Contractor locator map

    How-to-apply-for-Professional

    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

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