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  1. #1

    HVAC contractor punch list for leaking freon?

    Hi all
    I recently bought a new construction custom home that was half finished before the previous owners ran out of money.
    There are 2 hvac units that were installed in the attic that were brand new .
    One is a 3 ton Payne high efficiency condensing unit.
    The other is a Carrier 5 ton unit.
    Both had the new line sets ran outside. The house did not have any condensers.
    House sq ft is 3700 single story.

    I was refered to a HVAC pro by a good family friend and had this man purchase Rheem condensers for both units.
    He installed the condensers and the 3 ton has run great. blows very cold air all day long.
    The 5 ton initially blew cold but after a week, no more cold air. He discovered a small leak from where he brazed the line set in the attic and then fixed it. Recharged with freon and it again worked great.... for about a week.
    HE came back and added more freon. Same story, after about 1.5 weeks, no more cold air.
    He has added a dye to the line set but claims no other leaks. He says he will come out and start tearing things apart to look for the problem.
    This "pro" doesn't instill a lot of confidence with me. But I've paid him and money is tight after completing the construction of my new house so I don't want to have to pay to have another guy come out.

    So my question is this:
    What would be the diagnostic punch list to find out wher/why freon is leaking. I'm concerned the line set has a pin hole leak. Even though I triple checked to make sure the nail guards were in place to protect it.
    At this point, if it were the line set, there is no easy way to get a new one out to the condenser.

    Can't the guy cut the line set in the attic and then pressurize it? If pressure held, then that would isolate that portion and he could move on the other things.

    Thanks for all your help!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,731
    A isolation leak check is what is needed. Pressure up each line seperate as well as the coil and condensing unit. I have cut sheet rock more than once to find a lineset leak due to being shot full of nails. I would not expect this to be done for free

  3. #3
    Quote Originally Posted by catmanacman View Post
    A isolation leak check is what is needed. Pressure up each line seperate as well as the coil and condensing unit. I have cut sheet rock more than once to find a lineset leak due to being shot full of nails. I would not expect this to be done for free
    Thanks for the reply!
    Not opposed to paying to have the leak found, just not sure if it's where he brazed the lines together or if the new condenser is faulty.

    I'm going to be in trouble if the lineset is leaking in the wall! Cabinets are in place and foam insulation has been sprayed in an unvented rafter assembly.

    As I mentioned, he first used some green dye to try and see if the welds bubbled. That's how he found the first faulty solder. Then when he loaded dye into the lineset, when he went back to check with his special flashlight, he mentioned it was of no use due to him placing the green dye all over the lines intially. Everything glowed with the flashlight. Hope this makes sense.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,731
    Only a isolation pressure test will tell if the lines are leaking ,if it is the condenser (doughtfull) or his welding than he should warranty the job. A unit that leaks the freon out in a week should not be that hard to find the leak. Just one other thing im wondering is how the heck is he pulling a proper vacuum something is telling me he is not using a micron guage . Ithink he should recover all refrigerant and replace all driers after finding the leak and repairing it

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
    Posts
    25,773
    Ok. Let me get this straight.

    In less than a month, this unit had to be recharged 3 times?

    And this guy cannot find a leak?

    He'd be gone as far as I'm concerned.


    Also, the fact that he left a leak behind on a bad braze joint is suspect because, to me, that means that he failed to follow standard procedures involving pressure testing and evacuation following installation of the equipment.


    Again, these are MY opinions, but I would call him up, tell him that he is fired and that he will no longer do HVAC work for you.


    Check out our Contractor locator map.

    He doesn't need a 'punch list' he needs a leak detector and a bottle of soap.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,675
    Quote Originally Posted by jpsmith1cm View Post
    Ok. Let me get this straight.

    In less than a month, this unit had to be recharged 3 times?

    And this guy cannot find a leak?

    He'd be gone as far as I'm concerned.
    He doesn't need a 'punch list' he needs a leak detector and a bottle of soap.
    Or a Tank of Nitrogen and another bottle of BigBlue

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2006
    Location
    Virginia
    Posts
    4,731
    Being new construction it couldbein the wall. Im curios if the lineset and coil had pressure on them before he installed the outside unit .if it was at a weld joint that big of leak should be obvious

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Suppy NC
    Posts
    4,513
    have to agree with Been on this one

    your leak should not be that hard to find and dye is a waist of time

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