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  1. #1

    Dirty coils use less freon than clean coils? Seriously?

    Help. I purchased a one year HVAC service plan with a local company for 2 free servcie visits each a year apart. I have two split systems, one Trane and one Nordyne Maytag. Each are about two years old and hi eff units.

    1st visit went fine and all was working as it should. Last week during the second visit the tech had a hard time doing pretty much everything from taking them apart, to cleaning them, to putting them back together, to getting them running again. After 2 days he said the Nordyne was completely out of freon and it was not working and he wanted $ to charge the unit and then $?? to locate the leak. My wife told him no, they worked before you got here so they should be working when you leave. After 4 days w/o heat the company sent another tech and he said it was not a "restriction" because the reversing valve appears fine. He said it was low in freon (not empty) so he charged it (6#) and it began to heat. When he gave me a bill for $ i refused to pay and had him call his manager. The manager tells me the unit may have seemed to run ok before but it really wasn't. He said before the coils were dirty so less freon was needed to make heat so that made it seem like it ran ok, but now that they cleaned the coils the unit is able to run at full efficiency so now it needs a full charge of freon to run. Is this as big of a pile of steaming BS as it sounds to me like it is? DIrty coils require less freon because it's partially clogged up but now that it is not and the lines can fill completely it needs a full charge of freon? Really? Please help me see if I am getting swindled. Oh yeah, after I refused to pay the manager had his tech go outside and release the freon into the atmosphere - isnt' this illegal?? Thanks Much for any advice.

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    Last edited by k-fridge; 02-05-2013 at 06:18 PM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
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    2,943
    Do you have heatpumps with electric backup?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
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    ... maybe if you charge by the "beer can cold" method.

    For the pro's (I'm still a little behind on the refrigerant specific side)... but if you charged by subcooling method and the coil was dirty so heat transfer was reduced, would you actually end up undercharging it? Same with low airflow on the evap.

    Releasing to the atmosphere...yup totally illegal. Only legally venting is to vent/pruge your gauges.

    OF course your supposed to clean hte unit and verify proper airflow prior ot adjusting hte refrigerant charge on a unit.


    Just a note, if it needed refrigerant added, it either 1) has a leak that shold be fixed. or two, 2) still has a problem that is being masked by being overcharged.

    FYI... no prices on here.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
    Posts
    5,520
    Did this company install the units? If so, I'm also curious why a 2 year old unit has a leak, and the installing company isn;t fixing it for free. I know only a 1 year warranty is typical, but I think a standup company would be fixing it for free.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Missouri
    Posts
    3,575
    I'd be calling another company and get their opinion in writing to see if they agree. Yeah, you can't just "vent" the freon into the air regardless. Call someone else, see what they think. There is a contractor locator site here if you wish to use it. Most of these guys know their stuff.

    Oh yeah, agree with Moto, these systems components should still be under warranty and if leaking freon, can be replaced.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2012
    Posts
    2,677
    Technically if you have a really dirty condenser coil and a low charge the high head pressure could provide enough of a pressure increase as to mask the low charge. Six pounds worth on a resi split system, not. Mabye a pound or so any more than that your system would be constantly trying to keep up with the load and your compressor would be damaged if operation continued.
    Short awnser yes- long awnser -highly unlikely to the six pounder.
    Venting to atmospher- what an idiot.
    My name is TooCoolforschool and I am a chronic over charger.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2003
    Posts
    1,675
    Wow

    I would say that the company that you had out has pretty much burned their bridges and destroyed
    their credibility with you.

    Also Venting to the atmosphere is a very unprofessional thing to do, not to mention illegal.

    What happened to good old customer service ?

    I would find another company to service that unit.

    I would also write a letter to the owner of said company to let him know of the shennigans that went on at your home.

    It may or may not do much but I find it very cathartic to do it

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Richmond, VA
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    Quote Originally Posted by small change View Post
    Wow

    I would say that the company that you had out has pretty much burned their bridges and destroyed
    their credibility with you.

    Also Venting to the atmosphere is a very unprofessional thing to do, not to mention illegal.

    What happened to good old customer service ?

    I would find another company to service that unit.

    I would also write a letter to the owner of said company to let him know of the shennigans that went on at your home.

    It may or may not do much but I find it very cathartic to do it
    Are you sure? We are only getting one side of the story....Told they have a leak...and don't want to find it because it was "working" before they got there...how many times have you heard that? Hence my question about backup heat.......

  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by beshvac View Post
    Do you have heatpumps with electric backup?
    yes heat pump but no electrical strip or backup heaters. Phoenix Arizona so winter extremes not bad.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by motoguy128 View Post
    ... maybe if you charge by the "beer can cold" method.

    For the pro's (I'm still a little behind on the refrigerant specific side)... but if you charged by subcooling method and the coil was dirty so heat transfer was reduced, would you actually end up undercharging it? Same with low airflow on the evap.

    Releasing to the atmosphere...yup totally illegal. Only legally venting is to vent/pruge your gauges.

    OF course your supposed to clean hte unit and verify proper airflow prior ot adjusting hte refrigerant charge on a unit.


    Just a note, if it needed refrigerant added, it either 1) has a leak that shold be fixed. or two, 2) still has a problem that is being masked by being overcharged.

    FYI... no prices on here.
    Sorry. Didn't know. thanks.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by motoguy128 View Post
    Did this company install the units? If so, I'm also curious why a 2 year old unit has a leak, and the installing company isn;t fixing it for free. I know only a 1 year warranty is typical, but I think a standup company would be fixing it for free.

    I was not able to reach the original company - it was a small operation (husband and wife I believe) so I am not sure they are still around so I have no complaint with them as far as this incident goes because they have not been involved.

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by beshvac View Post
    Are you sure? We are only getting one side of the story....Told they have a leak...and don't want to find it because it was "working" before they got there...how many times have you heard that? Hence my question about backup heat.......
    Believe me I understand your caution. Been there done that. The difference here however is we didn't call them out for service. We called them out to have them perform the annual system checkup and coil cleaning we had paid for the prior year so we were not having trouble beforehand. IF it was low on freon beforehand, we were unaware. Point is we didn't call them out to fix a leak. And when it's all done we are left with one unit totally inoperable and told it was bone dry on freon, but the second tech disputed that and said it was not bone dry but low six pounds. And after what the manager told me I had to come here to ask the question - was what the manager told me reasonable under the cirucumstances or was it mumble jumble to baffle me with BS because I wouldn't know any better and to get me to pay them more money to fix what I think was their screw up. BOttom line now is oh yes we have one unit that is definitely low on freon because I watched him venting it. Obviously I need to call another company now to get it taken care of but as far as that goes we have a home warranty which is precisely why I told them I didn't what them to do any repairs when I spoke with the first manager. They wanted to check it to see if it had a restriction or not which is what the first guy was saying why it no longer worked. I was planning to go back to the company and speak higher up the ladder but honestly I don't trust them any more. So now I guess I hope the warranty company will still cover it despite those clowns monkeying with it, and if not go to the BBB and the consumer help lines at the local TV stations. Oh joy. By the way, when I saw the guy venting it I took out my cell phone and appeared to be reading email but really i was video taping it. You should hear the hissing sound of that stuff being released. I wonder if the TV consumer guys might be interested in investigating that?

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
    Location
    Lancaster PA
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    68,328
    If the coils were that dirty, then why didn't the first tech see that and clean them on the first free visit.
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    How many times must one fix something before it is fixed?

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