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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    13
    This is a follow-up to my prior post regarding a tech charging me $$$ to do a "required" Nitrogen leak test before adding Freon. At the end, he says the leak was too small to detect and adds the Freon anyway (probably what he should have done from the get-go).

    From what I've gathered on this forum and other reserach, the EPA does not require leaks in systems under 50 lbs to be fixed before recharging. I pointed this out to the HVAC company and they insist that exemption is for commercial units only, and that EPA requires a leak test/repair before adding more than 1 lb of Freon to any home system. Needless to say, I feel like I was ripped off for an unnecessary leak test that wasn't required and in which the tech didn't even find the leak!

    I found the web page on the EPA site http://www.epa.gov/ozone/title6/608/leak.html#relief that talks about the 50 lb cut-off for leak repairs. Is there anything from EPA that talks about small residential systems that I can show this HVAC company?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,793
    NO.

    Tell them you want to see the EPA section that they claim exists.

    There is none.

    All systems under 50 pounds are exempt.
    Weather or not it right that they are doesn't matter.

    They sold you a service by lying, thats illegal.

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  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Posts
    4,067
    They are so full of sh*t.

    I would not deal with them or give them another dime of mine.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    230
    Originally posted by tw88
    I pointed this out to the HVAC company and they insist that exemption is for commercial units only, and that EPA requires a leak test/repair before adding more than 1 lb of Freon to any home system.
    You have a good basis for a lawsuit for fraud. Or at least a great story for the evening news 'ripoff' reporter.

    [Edited by leapfrog on 06-14-2006 at 05:27 PM]

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    13
    Nicely said. So now I am trying to reason with them by letting them know the gig is up. They don't seem receptive yet, so more definitive action may be needed to recoup some of the charges. As a matter of fact, I paid for them to find the leak and they didn't even successfully do that!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2000
    Location
    Indianapolis, IN, USA
    Posts
    34,613
    After they put the nitro in, they would need to remove all the old stuff, put in a new filter-drier, run a vacuum pump to remove all air & moisture, then refill you. Did they?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Posts
    13
    Well the tech said he did and charged me additonal money to do it (one would think that this purging would be included in the price of the nitrogen test and disclosed upfront). At this point I'm not even sure what to believe anymore except that I got taken for a ride.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2004
    Location
    Central Kansas
    Posts
    1,145
    Not to be devil's advocate... but what if he'd found a leak? Still a con man?

    Yes, they are improperly interpreting EPA regs. But there are a few, darn few mind you, firms who take a stand or policy that they will not contribute to the delinquency of a leaking system regardless of size.

    Some would call it noble (these people are tree huggers), some would call it an unnecessary action and an over charge to a customer. If you are a tree hugger...

    I have a customer who insists on using R-410a in his properties' system upgrades(and has for years), insulates beyond the point of diminishing returns, exceeds normal parameters to conserve energy, etc. all in the name of the environment and not with the intent of saving $$. He's the only Republican tree hugger in existence that I know of!lol
    Don't confuse me with facts, my mind is already made up.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2006
    Posts
    230
    If the contractor took the position that "we don't recharge without a leak test because it is our policy and it is good for the environment" then I would be OK with that.

    But to "improperly interpret" the EPA regulations in communications with the customer is either incompetence or fraud.

  10. #10
    Regardless of what EPA says, it's unethical to keep adding refrigerant to a residential system with known leaks.
    Usually, a good tech will come in and check the existing pressure in a system, and if it is not flat, he can shut the system down and find the leak(s) in a matter of a few minutes.
    I've NEVER inspected a system with small leaks that could not be found.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Feb 2006
    Location
    In the house normally
    Posts
    219
    Gotta get the facts before the asses are made from assuming. Maybe the tech is not certified by the EPA and was just blowing off what he has heard from his boss. Hopefully that is not the case!

    How does the issue of EPA laws even come up with the customer on a call for service anyway? I have never discussed it before. If they see the tank and recovery machine, I tell them go and thank your uncle sam for it and then they usually say enough said.

    TW88, was your unit completely out of refrigerant or did it have a just a little in it?


  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    midwest
    Posts
    2,868
    Originally posted by chillbilly
    Regardless of what EPA says, it's unethical to keep adding refrigerant to a residential system with known leaks.
    Usually, a good tech will come in and check the existing pressure in a system, and if it is not flat, he can shut the system down and find the leak(s) in a matter of a few minutes.
    I've NEVER inspected a system with small leaks that could not be found.

    Unethical is your opinion only and not a fact. If the homeowner does not want to pay or can't afford to pay you to look for a leak for who knows how long and fix it, it is perfectly within their rights to have it topped off. A matter of minutes does not cover all leaks and some do get by with recharging once a year and can't afford anything more.

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    PA
    Posts
    68,793
    Originally posted by Midwest
    Not to be devil's advocate... but what if he'd found a leak? Still a con man?

    YES, because he lied about it being a law.

    If he said it is company policy, then thats fine.

    But lying to a customer, to make the customer think he has no choice, is a con.
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