Accumulator Frosting Up
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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    162

    Accumulator Frosting Up

    I am running my heat pump for heat and I'm having a problem with air temperature coming out of air handler. While observing and trying to understand why the liquid line at the air handler would grow cool after unit was running for about a minute and the slowly start to warm up again I went outside and watched the suction line accumulator frost up and become ice cold. The compressor would also feel cool to the touch especially at where the accumulator line was coming in. Tech coming out today to look at it. What are some of the possibilities he should see.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Alabama
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    658
    sound like its working fine to me. all units take time to stabilize.. if you let it run for a while, and if its charged properly, the frost will go away.

    as for the change in temp at the air handler, the refer is condensing to a liquid in the heat mode. when you remove heat from the refer, it condenses and cools. therefore the liquid line will be much cooler than the discharge(big line) going in.

    sounds like you may have a rheem/ruud unit?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    162
    So a 7 degree drop in air temp leaving the handler at the same time this liquid line is getting cool is normal? It takes about 5 minutes for it to get back up to the 7 degrees lost. I just don't understand the big drop.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by superd77 View Post
    therefore the liquid line will be much cooler than the discharge(big line) going in.
    I do not feel a noticeable difference in temps between the suction line and liquid line at the indoor coil when my heat pump is running in heating mode. It is a new 14 SEER, R22, charged poperly by supercooling (TXV).

  5. #5
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    Jun 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlb7 View Post
    So a 7 degree drop in air temp leaving the handler at the same time this liquid line is getting cool is normal? It takes about 5 minutes for it to get back up to the 7 degrees lost. I just don't understand the big drop.
    No. Not normal.

    Have you had someone out to check the charge?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    Tech came out today. He put on the gages and watched the suction line drop. Thought there was a restriction. He defrosted unit a couple of times and the suction line didn't drop as much. We went in and looked at the air flow and he determined that it was fine. We had all stats call for heat (zoned system) and he went back outside. He checked ambient temp, checked temp on suction line after the accumulator and determined it was low on refrigerant. Put in about a gallon. Temp increased at air handler. Turned off all zones except one. Accumulator did not freeze up again. Told me to watch temps and if they start falling I may have a leak. Does this sound right? Would the suction line readings drop if the refrigerant is low?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    Middle Tennessee
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    11,347

    *

    Quote Originally Posted by carlb7 View Post
    determined it was low on refrigerant. Put in about a gallon




    .

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2008
    Location
    Western PA
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    Quote Originally Posted by carlb7 View Post
    Tech came out today. He put on the gages and watched the suction line drop. Thought there was a restriction. He defrosted unit a couple of times and the suction line didn't drop as much. We went in and looked at the air flow and he determined that it was fine. We had all stats call for heat (zoned system) and he went back outside. He checked ambient temp, checked temp on suction line after the accumulator and determined it was low on refrigerant. Put in about a gallon. Temp increased at air handler. Turned off all zones except one. Accumulator did not freeze up again. Told me to watch temps and if they start falling I may have a leak. Does this sound right? Would the suction line readings drop if the refrigerant is low?

    Hate to say it, but you've got.a leak.

    Too many techs seem to use ignorance of homeowners to their advantage.

    The only logical way that you are low on charge is is that it leaked out. Refrigerant systems are supposed to be sealed and shouldn't require periodic recharging.

    That said, you probably have a very small leak. That will be difficult to locate.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Jun 2008
    Location
    South,Tx
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    331

    He did what he needed to do .

    yes its a matter of loading freon into the system , but "if" there more freon to be added later on , then posibilty of "leak" .
    Matt 7:12 The Golden Rule
    "Do for others what you would like them to do for you. This summary of all is taught in the law and the prophets.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    162
    Well its 57 degrees outside but I made one of the zones call for heat anyway. Temp in air handler went to 100 degrees then backed down to 97 degrees and the went back up to a max of 131 degrees. I went outside and the suction line from the accumulator went frosty cold. After awhile it melted off. He also said that there may have been "crystals" in the line causing the restriction as it passed the outside metering device (not a TXV). So the drop was not as drastic, the frost on accumulator was not as bad, does it sound like problem solved or just made better. I hope there is not a leak.

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Jun 2006
    Location
    Southeastern Connecticut
    Posts
    841
    You lost refrigerant somewhere as stated by jpsmith so you have a leak, it maybe a big leak or it maybe very small and difficult to find but it can be found. If you have crystals in the line there is something really, really bad happening.
    Refrigerant is usually sold by the pound not the gallon.
    Accumulators frost almost everytime the system starts so looking at a frosted accumulator tells you nothing about the system.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    4
    Before any pressures and/or temps may be taken, the heat pump must have operated for the last 20 mins...if, after 20 mins the suppy temp is still variable, troubleshooting will be necessary...I am not convinced that your unit needed that "gallon" of refrigerant...some refrigerant may have migrated to the accumulator and is boiling off rapidly when the compressor starts...by adding refrigerant, it may have only forced the suction pressure up enough to slow that boil rate down preventing frost...U may now be overcharged

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Posts
    162
    I stand corrected, a pound of refrigerant. He ran the system for awhile before taking readings. He took the outside ambient temperature and then the temp of the suction line coming off the accumulator and then read what the proper charge should be from the outside unit cover. That is when he determined it was undercharged. Later when the unit came on there was frost on the accumulator line but it went away much quicker. Not sure about the crystal thing, he may have been winging it there. He said that the head pressure was also lower than it should have been for the 57 degree outside temp that we had today. I will be monitoring the system to see if there are any changes and we have some really cold weather coming in this weekend. The temp from air handler also didn't dip the 7 degrees but it did dip 3 degrees after charging.
    By the way dngtig I used to live in Norwalk and went to Danbury to watch the stock car races every Sat night, I miss them. Nice car!

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