AC down (loss of refrigerant)... need advice
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  1. #1

    Unhappy AC down (loss of refrigerant)... need advice

    Hi! I have a problem with my AC at home and need some advice...

    The unit is about twelve years old but the compressor was replaced at one point (at least five years ago). It's a 10 SEER Carrier system installed by the home builder.

    The unit was not cooling when we went to use it this summer. We had someone come out and they said that it had no refrigerant. They surmised that it most likely had a leak in the condenser unit and recommended replacement.

    Right now I'm sitting with a few options... replace the condenser without verifying where the problem is with a leak check, have a leak check and go from there or replace both the condenser and the coil with a new 13 SEER unit.

    A number of people have told me that most often leaks are in the condenser and cannot be repaired. That's why I'm waffling on the leak check. However, if it's not the condenser and I go with the replacement I'll be hosed.

    Can anyone with experience in these situations offer some advice?

    Thanks!
    Last edited by ARPA; 06-20-2008 at 12:43 PM.

  2. #2
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    You should be leak-free if you replace the condenser, coil, and refrigerant lines.

    Good luck.

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Gambling on the leak being in the condenser would be a bad bet, I find most often it is the evaporator coil in the indoor unit, or the accumulator in the outdoor unit

    have the leak check done, and if something major needs to be replaced, do the entire system, there are many reasons for this.

    keep in mind after Jan 1 2010 there will be no more R22 equipment produced, so if you install a new outdoor unit now, a matching air handler may not be available for it after that time

  4. #4
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    Get a matched system, not just a condenser.
    The company that came out should have done a quick visual look for a leak at the condenser.

    Please remove your pricing. you can edit it out. Thank you.
    its against the rules.
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  5. #5
    Opps! Sorry about the pricing. I wasn't looking to check numbers, just wanted to show the comparative rough costs of each option.

    I may have misstated a bit... when I said replace the condenser, I was talking about replacing the entire outside unit, condenser, compressor and all.

    The replacement proposed would be a matching 10 SEER unit.

    It's double the cost to replace the whole smash so that's why I'm doing the extra research.

    I guess the big question is whether it's worth spending the money on a leak check before proceeding with either repair option? I'm guessing the chance they could find and repair the leak is small but....

    Thanks again!

  6. #6
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    Any 10 SEER condenser you get today, was made before January 1-2006. So I would want it in writing that it has a 5 year compressor warranty.

    The condenser is the entire outside unit.
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  7. #7
    Join Date
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    As stated, most leaks that we find are in the indoor coil so I would opt for the leak check to verify where the leak is. It usually does not take that long with the right tools. Then you will have the exact info you need to make a logical choice on how to proceed. Without this how could anyone know what to replace.

    If you change the system, get a updated new minimum 13 SEER unit and save some energy. As stated if the unit proposed is a 10 SEER its been sitting around for awhile. You may also want to get a second opinion on whats bad and a few more quotes to repair.
    Its a good Life!

  8. #8
    Thanks for the feedback. From your experience, are leaks often repairable?

    If the leak could be fixed that would obviously save a lot of money.

    Thanks (yet again)!

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by OpenTrackRacer View Post
    Thanks for the feedback. From your experience, are leaks often repairable?

    If the leak could be fixed that would obviously save a lot of money.

    Thanks (yet again)!
    Yes the leak could be fixed, but another leak may pop up in the future in another component. If this happens it could cost you more in the long run. A/C systems have a life expency of 15 years. You would be taking a risk by just getting the leak fixed.
    Stuart
    Lack of airflow destroys compressors.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Dec 2007
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    Fixing a leak in a coil, on a 12 year old unit really isn't worth it. You might want to do some checking around about your leak. The way my company works is that we will charge you to do a leak search and to find that leak....HOWEVER...if you decide to buy a system from us for replacement, we will credit you for that leak search charge. You should ask about this option, but I gotta be honest...if someone "surmizes" that your leak is "most likely" in your condenser coil....they are dead wrong. MOST LIKELY the leak is in your evaporater coil, NOT your condenser coil. This doesn't mean that the leak isn't there, but the fact that they failed to show you, means they are doing nothing more than guessing at where the leak might be. I would want proof of where the leak is, and as a technician, I always provide proof to my customers.
    I need a new signature.....

  11. #11
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    I would have a leak test done the company i work for also waves the leak test fee if u bought a new system from us. I would want to know wher the leak is 90% of the time the leak is in the indoor coil. as for equipment, 13 seer or higher and make sure if u do go with a whole new 13 seer system that they add a txv valve not a fixed orfice. running a fixed orfice will only get u about 11 seer on a 13 seer system.

  12. #12
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    Mar 2008
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    also, make sure they do a leak check after they are done soldering, we pressure test with dry nitrogen for at least 20 mins before using a vaccum pump

  13. #13
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Swampfox View Post

    keep in mind after Jan 1 2010 there will be no more R22 equipment produced, so if you install a new outdoor unit now, a matching air handler may not be available for it after that time
    There will be no more R-22 condensers produced, as for the evap. coil, you can simply change the TXV

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