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  1. #1

    Bryant AC leak problems

    I had a Bryant Puron central air conditioner installed in 2005 (after the cooling season). At the same time the line set and evaporator coil where replaced, along with the heater and whole house humidifier.

    The AC system functioned normally during the 2006 cooling season. At the beginning of May 2007 I started up the AC and noticed that the compressor was short-cycling. I shut off the system until a service call. I already had an annual maintenance appt. scheduled, but it was three weeks away.

    The tech for the installer examined the system and added appox. 1.2 lbs of Puron on 5/4/07. He thought the low-side valve was loose and said that might have explained the loss of Puron.

    Two weeks passed and the weather got warmer. The AC system was working and then started to lose effectiveness. By the time the next tech visited (5/29/07), he added 2 lbs of Puron along with UV dye. A follow-up visit was scheduled to check for leaks. One week later, the tech returned to check for leaks, but he found none, and the pressure in the system appeared to have remained stable so no additional Puron was added.

    The current position of the installer/service company is that they are going to keep checking the pressures and adding Puron until the weather cools enough to allow the AC system to be taken out of service, the components isolated, and more intense leak checks performed.

    At this point I have questions about why less then two-year old components are giving my such problems. Can't the components just be replaced as they are under warranty? Wouldn't an installation-related problem have become apparent in the first cooling season?

    Thanks for any advice you all can offer.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southern NJ
    Posts
    962
    If you losing that much refrigerant that quick it should be repaired. Problem wouldn't necessarily show up the first year unless it was leaking enough. It could have been fine with no leaks. Crazy things happen, the system could of been hit hard enough with the lawn mower, Lineset could be rubbing on something (i.e. penetration thru outer wall). If refrigerant has to be added again......they should do a proper leak repair. It's not that hard depending on where they find the leak.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    1,234
    The current position of the installer/service company is that they are going to keep checking the pressures and adding Puron until the weather cools enough to allow the AC system to be taken out of service, the components isolated, and more intense leak checks performed.

    At this point I have questions about why less then two-year old components are giving my such problems. Can't the components just be replaced as they are under warranty? Wouldn't an installation-related problem have become apparent in the first cooling season?

    Thanks for any advice you all can offer.[/QUOTE]

    First of all it doesn't take all day to locate a leak even when sections are isolated so it sounds like they are putting you off until it is convenient for them. I only say that not knowing all the circumstances as they may be a very reputable company. We have found many leaks located inside exterior walls that were puntured by nails during construction that did not show up for quite some time. Apparently the nails actually sealed themselves and then eventually worked loose from vibration.Yes, if the leak is within the indoor or outdoor coil and cannot easily be repaired it should be covered under warranty.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Southern NJ
    Posts
    962
    If you want to get Technical with them..only as a last resort. If the system leaks more than 10% of it's charge in a one year period, IT MUST be repaired, according to the clean air act. I think those are the right numbers anyother PRO's out there remember. I pretty much go after the leak if I believe there is one present, right then, because it doesn't take that long to verify if a leak is present.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,837
    The problems with R-410A are different than R-22. R-410A(Puron) is a refrigerant blend. It's two refrigerants mixed in a special proportion. That's why you must charge with liquid and NOT gas. If you charge with gas, you'll get only one of the refrigerants in the blend and a totallly imablanced charge in the system. The same thing holds true when 410A leaks out of the system. You say the tech put in 1.5# of refrigerant. Well my question is, what's the balance of refrigerants in the system now? No one can answer that question you see because you have no way of knowing what proportion of which refrigerant in the blend escaped. So the repair is extensive and expensive in all likelyhood. The first step, after doing a preliminary leak check with a good quality electronic leak detector is to pump down the system and the put a 500 psig charge of N2 into the system, add a little R-410A and recheck for leaks in the lines and evaporator. If you can't find the leak then, in all likelyhood it's in the condenser.

    If the leak is equipment defect, depending on where the leak actually is, you may get a new piece of equipment. If the leak is in a line or connection, it's up to the installing company to make the repair and that means recovering all the refrigerant in the system and putting in a virgin charge of Puron. Any other way is asking for a whole lot of future troubles.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2004
    Location
    Thibodaux, LA
    Posts
    1,170
    I am now reassured why I stay off the residential section most of the time.

    First, even with the best refrigerant leak detectors refrigerant R410A can be very difficult to find a leak. We have found that the best method is to isolate the evaporator and lineset then pull down a 500 micron vacuum and see if it holds. Then you can start to narrow the search for the leak.

    We have spent full days at customer homes looking for leaks on R410 systems. Expect it to take time for the service company to locate the leak.
    Also your system is new which means there will be little trace of oil where the leaks are.



    Unfortunately, indoor evaporator coils (doesn't matter what brand)have a tendency to leak refrigerant. We have never replaced some and replaced some coils within the first year sh*t happens.

    I hope you purchased the extended labor warrany!
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  7. #7
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    North Richland Hills, Texas
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    14,914
    Quote Originally Posted by makinmoney View Post
    If you want to get Technical with them..only as a last resort. If the system leaks more than 10% of it's charge in a one year period, IT MUST be repaired, according to the clean air act. I think those are the right numbers anyother PRO's out there remember. I pretty much go after the leak if I believe there is one present, right then, because it doesn't take that long to verify if a leak is present.
    I doubt the system contains more than 50 pounds of refrigerant...
    If more government is the answer, then it's a really stupid question.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Nov 2005
    Posts
    1,350
    410 is not like the first blends and if it leaks the blend is in close enough tolerances not to cause a problem with its properties. Put the system in a pump down and isolate, the leak will show up if it is there. 400# test with nitro will show just about everything. It must be a busy time for them, or they are hoping that you forget and go away.
    I STARTED WITH NOTHING, AND I STILL HAVE MOST OF IT!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    44
    I am glad that lost of refrigerant repair issue has been cleared up.

    Now, there is nothing unprofessional with delaying a residential or light commercial leak repair until a more opportune time. That is, as long as the customer is not charged with repeated trips. And, as long as the customer does not mine.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Posts
    5,510
    Just let them finish the UV search before jumping to conclusions. From experience, the first UV search won't necessarily turn up anything. Sometimes has to circulate in the sytem for a couple of months before a visible stain appears. As for the negative comments made by a few others, they haven't thought it through, or else haven't had much experience with 410-A leak searches. Nitrogen can be used to determine if the low side is leaking, but even if it shows a leak it won't tell you where the leak is on the low side. The UV dye will, so your company has skipped an unessesary step. They already know its leaking, they don't need reconfirmation of that fact, what they need is a way to pinpoint it.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Mar 2003
    Posts
    1,234
    UV dyes may be good for some leaks but if you have a customer losing their cooling when it is over 100 deg. they do not want to wait several months for the leak to be located. And how will you locate the leak if it's inside a wall? I will quarantee you I can locate a leak with my H10 and repair it in less than one day. I have been working with r410 for 11 years now and have always been able to locate leaks, albeit some took longer than others.
    As was state earlier, r410 will not change its chemical characteristics enough to make any significant difference and can be added as a vapor.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Raleigh, NC
    Posts
    44
    Quote Originally Posted by clofax View Post
    The current position of the installer/service company is that they are going to keep checking the pressures and adding Puron until the weather cools enough to allow the AC system to be taken out of service, the components isolated, and more intense leak checks performed.

    At this point I have questions about why less then two-year old components are giving my such problems. Can't the components just be replaced as they are under warranty? Wouldn't an installation-related problem have become apparent in the first cooling season?

    Thanks for any advice you all can offer.
    A direct response to your two questions is this:

    1. Yes. For the most part, warranty will allow for the component to be replaced. But first the broken component must be identified. Sometime, oftentime, a repair is faster and easier than a replacement. The component may be under warranty, but not the labor and the shipping & handling of the component. Let's just say the leak may be found in the indoor coil and easily repairable. We would not want to charge you twice as much to replace the coil as we would charge to repair the leak.

    2. And, to your second question, it has not been determined that here exist an "installation problem". If there is an installation problem, and it is a leak, the leak would more than likely be located at or near the four joints that were brazed together. And, those are the first places that we check. Leaks can develop at any moment. As you know, man made things are subject to fail. Just one of those things that happens.

  13. #13
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    Jul 2002
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    Slacking off right now
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    a screw or nail could have gone through the lineset - you do any renos'?

    they will find the leak then figure out the warranty status - good luck
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